Choir of Young Believers

Grasque

Ghostly International

Feb 16, 2016 Issue # 56 - Best of 2015 - Father John Misty and Wolf Alice Bookmark and Share


Choir of Young Believer's third record, Grasque, began life as another project entirely. Frontman Jannis Noya Makrigiannis originally imagined the album as a new side-project, but changed his mind somewhere along the way. He kept the new project's band name, Grasque, and took Choir back to its roots as a mainly solo effort. This is only relevant because, on its face, Grasque is a hazy and beautiful mix of mismatched ideas. And that's only part of what makes it such a fantastic listen.

Grasque is an immediate improvement on Makrigiannis' previous outputs. And I don't mean that it's simply better, but rather that it uses the sonic fundamentals of 2012's Rhine Gold-epic orchestration layered underneath melancholy vocals and a vast, spacious quality-and just adds a sexy pop structure, while also diving headfirst into brand-new experimental territory.

"Serious Lover" is a dim-the-lights jam, but washed with distinct Danish pop flare. But rather than maintain such a simplistic approach, Grasque follows up with a delightfully weird "Face Melting," a nearly-ambient experience grounded by a light electronic beat. "Jeg Ser Dig," on the other hand, is beautifully heady pop, casting a wide net of musical influences and solidifying them into a singular sound. There are so many great tracks here, such as "Cloud Nine," which achieves all of the lofty ambition this album has to offer, yet surprises a listener with an intimacy in the last third. Refreshingly, Grasque is never redundant. It is pop without clichés, and avant-garde without boredom.

Makrigiannis' contribution to pop music is certainly underappreciated, but creatively rivaled by artists like Brian Eno and Scott Walker. Big, complicated ideas are understandably hard to execute, but Grasque is a serious exploration of the deepest reaches of pop music. But it is the gracefulness of those explorations that rival even Rhine Gold, a feat that shouldn't even be possible, but Grasque pulls it off without missing a single note. (www.ghostly.com/artists/choir-of-young-believers)

Author rating: 8/10

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