Choir of Young Believers, Rhine Gold
Making space for smiling and crying
On his second release as Choir of Young Believers, Danish troubadour Jannis Noya Makrigiannis continues to refine the sonic cathedrals of reverb and melancholy he established in his debut, This is For the White in Your Eyes. A proud purveyor of broken-hearted orchestral pop, Makrigiannis’s lush compositions here feel more optimistic — even as his sad tenor (a kissing-cousin to Andrew Bird’s vocal slur) provides a wistful undercurrent. The 10-minute “Paralyse” plays with this dichotomy, its hallucinatory cloud of tape wobbles and abrupt tempo changes echoing The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” as Makrigiannis laments his lover’s “guillotine goodbye.” But Makrigiannis is a man, not a heartsick (beach) boyâ€¦despite what some of his high-arcing vocals may suggest. On 1970s-AM-cribbing “Paint New Horrors” (perhaps the closest thing Rhine Gold has to a straight-up rock cut), Makrigiannis lists romantic trespasses, including “Fall in love with the city/ Fall in love with the band/ Fall in love out of pity/ Fall in love out of hand,” his regrets masked by a sophisticated mid-chorus swell that Fleetwood Mac would be proud to claim. Smile or cry? Once again, Makrigiannis gives space for his listeners to do both.