Choir of Young Believers - Grasque
Four years have passed since Jannis Noya Makrigiannis and his vehicle, Choir of Young Believers, released their last album, the haunting Rhine Gold; four years that have featured reinvention, confusion and experimentation. This has led to the Danish band’s third full-length album, the kaleidoscopic Grasque; an about-turn from their usual haunting, orchestra pop.
It’s got a touch of the late 80s sound about it, personified by the crazy 'Face Melting', which goes from come-down to come-up in seven minutes, eventually sounding like 5am and the last desperate attempt of a chemically assisted clubber to get back on the dance floor before collapsing back in the smoking area. However, the album’s centerpieces 'Græske' and 'Jeg Ser Dig' both point to an issue which runs right through this album; it simply sounds as if it wants to be this grand, opulent statement, without fully delivering the goods. 'Perfect Escosada' is probably the low point, evoking thoughts of a drunken stumble into the German parts of Mallorca; Schlager blasting out of the nearest bar, Veltins signs plastered everywhere and the smell of Bratwurst from every restaurant. Although you could definitely vouch for that experience, it’s safe to say that it’s not quite what Makrigiannis was aiming for.
It’s certainly not bad, but you get the feeling that, even on the high points, things just drag on for a touch longer than they should; the slinky groove on 'Gamma Moth' can’t sustain six minutes, and there’s no reason whatsoever why 'Does It Look As If I Care' should take up nine. You feel the whole thing could’ve been a bit tighter. The positives: it sounds lush and incredibly well produced; however, all that means is that Grasque flatters to deceive. And that leaves a slightly sour taste in the mouth.