The third single from Choir of Young Believers’ debut full-length This Is for the White in Your Eyes is a relatively minimal endeavor from the notoriously maximalist Danish collective—but when it comes to the Choir, big things usually come in small packages. A simple oom-pah thump on the bass drum, a cloud of ominous mellotron strings, and Jannis Noy Makrigiannis’ baleful moan is all “Claustrophobia” needs to make its mark—that, and an eerily soaring hook that could turn blood to ice water. Like the best of Choir of Young Believers’ songs, “Claustrophobia” is both introspective and outward-looking, both intimate and skyscraper-huge, suggesting that, enclosed within the small space of the narrator’s head, a world of wonderful, terrible beauty awaits.
On the flipside, two of Choir of Young Believers’ contemporaries in moody, experimental pop offer their takes on two of Jannis’ songs: Peter Silberman of The Antlers turns “Claustrophobia” into a genuinely claustrophobic affair, sucking the air out of the room and injecting a swarm of bitcrushed digital effects and throbbing, caustic atmosphere; and Sian Alice Group turns White in Your Eyes standout “Wintertime Love” into a slow-burning tribal forest ritual, circling the song’s chanted title until the sun comes up.
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