The first word that comes to mind is ethereal. Like white robes and sunlight through stained glass, the softest of angel feathers ruffling in an empty cathedral, the brush of a finger through its soft layer, and a darkness that vibrates underneath it all; ethereal is the word to describe Choir of Young Believer's album This Is for the White in Your Eyes. Albeit far from gospel music, Choir of Young Believers create layered, gorgeous orchestral pop songs with a grand, aching hope that echoes a religious ideology that you don't have to believe in to appreciate.
"Hollow Talk" might be the perfect introduction to this holy album, of a conviction not of religion but of life, of sentiments and tenderness like the tinkles of bells on top of the elegant piano. Jannis Noya Makrigiannis's beautiful voice flutters with a touch of the angelic and sad on the edge of grand strings and melody. But then "Next Summer" is a melodramatic modern pop song. It's a perfect soundtrack in gestures and images, each precisely imprinted in the emotion soaked line, with a persistent intense heartbeat that doesn't falter. This is a self aware melodrama, a manifestation of a small promise into a greater moment. "Action/Reaction" is yet another immaculate pop song, with an optimistic, sweet melody that uplifts like sunflowers peeling toward the sun, a symphony of lush sounds and voices straining toward exhilaration.
Songs like "She Walks" might begin with questions of what Jesus had known, but the song is instead created with slices of urgency about a femme fetale savior in majestic rises and tense verses. "Claustrophobia" is a powerful, atmospheric downward descend in clear condemning drums and silken whispers beneath the singer's lines of clear question. The sinking effects of the chorus, much like the fear itself, are a slow swirling madness. And still, the tight, suffocating track manages to retain an immense beauty. Listening to the entire album is a bit like a journey, a revelation played out in stages of light and darkness. It is certainly a solemn beauty, wrapped and chocking these nevertheless melodic and audio-aesthetically lovely pop songs. - Laura Yan