(Freakout) DeLand, FL transplants Roadkill Ghost Choir have always aspired to make sounds bigger than themselves. Their first EP, Beggars Guild, released before they made the move to Athens, was an early indication of the soaring, roots-rock tunes the band was capable of producing. The group’s latest full-length, the first half of which was released in February, doesn’t just build logically on where it’s been headed for the past few years; it finds the Shepard brothers overshooting that trajectory with near-limitless ambition.
Despite hearing a few of these tracks months ago, it’s difficult not to be mesmerized once again by the elaborately textured synth washes and chorus-effected lead lines of opener “Vision on Vision/Undo” or the somber, sweeping ballad “Severed Hand of God.” Both songs possess their own brand of epic beauty, the former containing multiple movements, between which the band gracefully segues, while the latter shifts so suddenly it brings a smirk of satisfaction every time.
On the surface, these are Springsteen-influenced anthems engineered to reach the cheap seats at the back of the festival, but taken under a microscope, this is some superior songcraft, channeling complex emotions into equally complex song structures. That it’s so unabashedly experimental while maintaining its mass appeal is all the better.
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