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Choir of Young Believers.
This has already been a tremendous year for pop music with orchestral ambitions: Regina Spektor, Patrick Watson and Fanfarlo all spring immediately to mind, and they're not the only ones. It's an impressive feat to make pop feel big and personal — to write music that sinks or swims based on the chops of the singer, while still managing a grand instrumental sweep.
Choir of Young Believers is led by 26-year-old Danish singer Jannis Noya Makrigiannis, who works with a rotating cast of supporting players: Sometimes, the band is a duo; at other times, it's an octet, or somewhere in between. Give a listen to This Is for the White in Your Eyes, and you'll hear the inspiration of Radiohead and The Beach Boys, as well as a few surprises along the way. The disc's opening track, "Hollow Talk," is one of my favorite ways to start an album that I've heard all year.