Choir Boy’s sophomore release,Gathering Swans is a brilliant second coming. The record is primarily a mixture of synthesizer instruments, drum machines and guitars with a healthy dose of choral reverb – a common combo amongst alternative artists. But, what makes Choir Boy stand out from the likes of Drab Majesty, Ariel Pink and the like, is Adam Klopp’s incredible vocals.
Klopp’s ethereal and breath-full singing is about as authentic as you’ll find looking for that retro-modern 80’s sound. He’s got a subtle vibrato that you’d expect from a crooner, along with a killer control of his range. Seriously, the man can take it right to the top in angelic fashion, before bringing it all the way down to a low satisfying grumble: think somewhere between Brandon Flowers, Boy George and Kate Bush.
The bite that Choir Boy lacked on their vampire adorned debut Passive With Desire, has been firmly by the teeth on their second outing. The introduction of more electronic instruments is a major factor. Standouts for me include ‘Gathering Swans’, an excellently delicate and heartfelt closer, and, ‘Complainer’, a cowbell and synth affair that beats the Weekend’s recent foray into synthpop hands down.
My one and only gripe with Gathering Swans is that at times the drum machine is placed too far in the back of the mix but, I digress. You’ll struggle to pick any serious flaws here: Choir Boy’s writing is cohesive, catchy and brilliant: the production is on point: and nothing, not even a limp drum, can detract from the sheer quality of the end result.
With Gathering Swans, Choir Boy haven’t just hurdled the cursed second-album test, they’ve come on leaps and bounds. Gathering Swans is the definitive release in scale, production and sound, and sees an utter masterclass in singing from frontman Adam Klopp. Bravo.
Haiku Review: Adam Klopp can sing, Choir Boy can fucking write, I can’t do either,