Choir of Young Believers Rhine Gold

Choir of Young BelieversRhine Gold
Denmark's Choir Of Young Believers are musical magpies, heaping numerous familiar melodies and '80s pop references over top of a gorgeous palette of moody orchestration. Whether it's a deliberate pastiche or musical cryptomnesia, it ultimately doesn't matter. "The Third Time," the opener on Rhine Gold, their second album, begins with eerie strings, brass and Jannis Noya Makrigiannis's (also of Chimes & Bells) powerful, pleading vocals. The second track, single "Patricia's Thirst," begins with an overtly Bernard Sumner-esque riff, but as it progresses, sounds like the best song Tears for Fears never made. "Paralyse" ups the tempo a little with a full-on Motorik beat and is by far the longest track at ten minutes, with a wonky, Syd Barrett-esque breakdown midway through before ascending back into noisy Krautrock territory. Slow, unfolding melodies, superb orchestration and above all, some great vocals, Makrigiannis sounds like a cross between Fleet Foxes' Robin Pecknold and Mark Hollis from Talk Talk, the latter being a welcome and dominating influence throughout. Rhine Gold does feel a bit frontloaded, with the most compelling tracks happening in the first half, losing a little momentum towards the end, but this is still a superb release. (Ghostly International)