Choir Of Young Believers: Grasque | Virgin Media
Choir Of Young Believers: Grasque

Choir Of Young Believers: GrasqueRating: ★★★★☆ | by Matthew Horton



Know the theme tune to BBC4's Scandinavian cop show The Bridge? That's Choir Of Young Believers track Hollow Talk. It's not a huge claim to fame, but it's a start.

The Copenhagen band (essentially frontman Jannis Noya Makrigiannis) aren't wildly prominent over here and this refined, detached record isn't going to change that in a hurry. Still, it's an intriguing experiment, and a fascinating break with what they've done before. Where there was once dreamy indie, there's now dreamy synth-pop. The ostensibly slight adjustment makes a big difference.

Serious Lover is as sensuous as its title suggests

Makes the whole thing sexier, for starters. Serious Lover is as sensuous as its title suggests, a lush electronic wash with a chorus that feels like an embrace. Face Melting is similarly sinuous, oozing virtuoso guitar squiggles around a jazz-pop melody that feels a little like 1980s pop classicists Prefab Sprout. Not that they were ever sexy. Makrigiannis's breathy, deep-pile croon is where they divert.

Choir Of Young Believers: Grasque

The 80s hang heavy over the whole record, the inevitable result when you're trying to build vistas of sound with synthesizers. The boinging keys of opener Olimpiyskiy recall a-ha, Perfect Estocada sounds like an off-cut from George Michael's Faith and the gargantuan closing track Does It Look As If I Care rolls huge Talk Talk piano through all this lovely R&B shimmer.

Makrigiannis's strength is clearly in soundscapes now, but he still has the tunes to bring them to life. Cloud Nine's chorus "Here comes another whirlpool" is the loveliest moment on the album by far, springing out of a relaxed groove, lovelorn and woozy, but everything comes together – rhythm, hook, melody – on crisp penultimate track Gamma Moth. That's where all Makrigiannis's influences and ambient dabblings melt away to leave a pure pop song, a fabulous destination with a bewitching journey behind it.