Russia's Red Army Choir shows off pop sensibilities

General Eliseev, conductor of The Red Army Choir, smiles during the opening of the 49th International Festival of Carthage at the Roman Theatre of Carthage on July 12, 2013.

FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images

Russia's Red Army Choir may wear imposing military uniforms that conjure up Joseph Stalin, but the distinguished singers know how to deliver modern hits that invoke James Bond - and sex bombs.

The world got a glimpse of the choir's up-tempo style when they performed Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" at the opening ceremony of the 2104 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

As Sky News reports, the 76-year-old group that specializes in patriotic tunes now has a repertoire of unlikely pop songs. They include everything from Tom Jones' "Sex Bomb" and The Beatles' "Hey Jude" to Adele's "Skyfall" and Pharrell Williams' "Happy."

The group's conductor, Major General Viktor Eliseev, told Sky News that despite the top-40 fare, the choir's mission remains the same as it was when it was founded in 1939 under Stalin.

"Since the time of Peter the Great there were musicians and orchestras which reinforced the patriotic tunes inside every warrior - to raise their morale so that they would win the battle and defeat the enemy," he said. "We perform for our soldiers, their commanders and their families to reinforce the feeling that the Motherland really needs them, that we are proud of them, that they are doing their patriotic duty."

For the Red Army Choir, raising morale entails not just cranking out contemporary hits - but also producing music videos, complete with dancing policemen and smoke machines.

Alexei Dmitriev, one of the lead vocalists, told Sky News that the choir wants "people who are watching and listening to us to understand that we are doing this only for them."

"It's personally for them, not for the government, not for their bosses, but personally for everyone who is in the hall, or watching us on television," he said. "We want to touch every heart."