When listening to Choir of Young Believers, it’s hard not to imagine an army of white-clad singers with arms outstretched, their voices raised in holy polyphony. In actuality, though, the Danish group is the brainchild of Jannis Noya Makrigiannis, a staple of Copenhagen’s underground indie scene. In 2006, Jannis moved to the Greek island of Samos, developing solo material before returning home to gather musicians and friends around him. And thus he formed Choir of Young Believers, an orchestral-pop project marked by magisterial melodies, dark lyrical concerns, and a healthy dose of cathedral-grade reverb.
Choir of Young Believers’ 2008 debut album, This is for the White In Your Eyes, mixed modest folk arrangements with ambitious pop, cooling its theatrics with Nordic stoicism and a glowing inner light. On 2012’s Rhine Gold, Jannis expanded his daring concepts in every way-classic Krautrock, big sky Americana, avant-garde composition, and bombastic gestures were seamlessly ushered into the fold. But no matter how the music evolves or shifts over time, the clear, mournful voice of Jannis Noya Makrigiannis remains, always reaching quietly for the heavens.