As soon as DeLand folk-rock band Roadkill Ghost Choir first emerged in Orlando indie clubs in early 2011, it was clear these young men were coming with serious intent and supernatural maturity. What made them instantly formidable was that they already had a complete idea and all the skill to render it right.
They interpret folk and country music with a symphonic rock approach that has depth and panorama of sound not often seen in those genres. And their long-awaited debut EP, Quiet Light, captures every nuance of it. Like the seemingly unlikely intersection of Dead Confederate and Fleet Foxes, they marry deep Southern roots with exquisite atmosphere. With its longing, patina and range, frontman Andrew Shepard's primetime voice is a model of expression. But essential to their formula is that the music isn't simply a platform for his singing, impressive though it is. No, this is a very full, very gifted band and it shows in every fiber of their richly crafted tapestry.
Stretching like a slow mountain sunrise, "Beggar's Guild" opens things with a regal, galloping procession of banjo, organ and Spaghetti Western horns that shudders and swells the soul. Equally exceptional is "Drifter," a stout country-rock ride that glides down the freeway with easy power and nice long pedal-steel lines. Other notables include the moody, forever twilit "Devout," which rises and falls like the Southern cousin to Wye Oak, and the reflective "Tarot Youth," which radiates the golden rays and crisp breezes of 1970s California.
Taking a painstaking nine months at Orange City's North Avenue Studios to create an EP and finally releasing it nearly two years into the band's existence isn't exactly the fast track. But it seems they're taking the long view in developing the majestic flower of their sound properly. The result this time is a staggeringly complete record and the real beginning of what can easily become one of the most noteworthy folk bands ever to sprout from the Central Florida soil.
Roadkill Ghost Choir plays the Beacham with Thomas Wynn and the Believers and Kaleigh Baker on Saturday, Oct. 20
6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20
46 N. Orange Ave.
$12-$15 (for $15, attend both this show and the Reptar show happening at the Social)
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