Album Review: Choir of Young Believers – This Is For The White In Your Eyes

by Tony Butterworth on August 7, 2009

ChoirChoir of Young Believers is led by 26-year-old Danish singer Jannis Noya Makrigiannis, who works with a rotating cast of supporting players. This Is For The White In Your Eyes is their debut album.  It’s rare these days to get to listen to something new without any preconceptions, hype or other factory distorting your viewpoint.  So lets see how it worked out.

Opener “Hollow Talk” is a very sparse tune, reminiscent of some of the more tuneful Radiohead.  Lots of orchestral instruments come in 2/3 of the way through rising to a choir accented climax.  Strings here are used really well (unlike the somewhat random use on the new Brendan Benson).  This is a good song and a great way to be introduced to a new band.

Track 2, “Next Summer,” opens with strings and piano, followed rapidly by the wonderful vocals.  The singing style is reminding me of something but I can’t quite place it yet, perhaps Morten Harket from A-Ha?  This is another slow tempo song with lush atmosphere.  The chorus is very emotionally sung but there is a great similarity to the first song in overall sound and feel.  Same thing again for “These Rituals of Mine.” Opening with strings and a sparse musical track with a slow tempo.  I’m not much of a lyrics guy but I am sure they are wonderful.  This one lacks the appealing feel of the first two, being written in a minor key and the somewhat dissonant chords.

“Action/Reaction” opens with a differently feel, a faster tempo and a different vocal style.  This is a great pop song, lots of harmonies and other backing vocals and bouncing beat.  A great, more upbeat, track.  “Under The Moon” returns to the slower pace and is a REALLY sparse track, light strums of guitar, the odd piano tinkle and eventually a randomly placed banjo are all you get. I’m starting to realize I prefer the more upbeat tunes here. Same again with “Wintertime Love” another painfully slow tracks with a trickling stream in the background and very reluctant instrumentation. Though, overall I like the music, this track finally reached a level of sameness that caused me to fast forward to the next track.

“She Walks” returns us to the faster, bouncier, feeling, definitely more appealing at this point of the album, though faster here is a relative term.  Unfortunately, at this point, and rather commonly for me these days, there is a sameness to every track that starts to cause some boredom in the listening experience.  I’m reaching for the skip button more and more at this point.  “Why Must It Always Be This Way” is another one in the same vain.  “Claustrophobia” and “Yamagata” close out the album with more of the same.

This Is For The White In Your Eyes is beautifully produced, has a  wonderful overall sound, and great vocals.  At this point I’m starting to wonder if it’s more me than the music but I can’t seem to work my way through an album that has a very consistent sound without becoming bored.  Most of these songs would make a welcome appearance on my playlist every now and then but back to back I need more variation.  If you’re looking for something to listen to try “Hollow Talk” or “Action/Reaction.”

This Is For The White In Your Eyes is currently streaming at NPR Exclusive First Listen

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