Intriguing Original Americana Rock From Roadkill Ghost Choir
Most Americana rock bands take country themes and make rock out of them. Florida group Roadkill Ghost Choir are a rock band, first and foremost, who color their songs with country motifs from steel and acoustic guitars and banjo. Their Quiet Light ep is a catchy, imaginatively arranged mix of surreal, darkly lyrical songs. The whole thing is streaming at their Bandcamp page.
It opens with Beggars’ Guild, a morbid bluegrass banjo groove, to which they’ve added funeral organ, way up in the mix. It’s a trick that works like a charm. The lyrics follow a surreal narrative to hell and back…sort of. The second cut, Drifter, takes an upbeat, bouncy new wave groove and puts eerily keening steel guitar in the background. Devout is a more new wave-flavored take on paisley underground psychedelia. With its dreampop tremolo-picking mimicking a mandolin, it seems like a retelling of the Abraham myth.
The most pop-oriented track is Tarot Youth, jangly guitar mingling with echoey Fender Rhodes electric piano. Bird in My Window brings back the dreampop guitar raindroplets, blending with an oldtime, fingerpicked country blues. It could be a murder ballad, or a murder/suicide ballad: between the singer’s ersatz southern accent and the litany of strange images, it’s hard to tell. With its subdued, martial sarcasm, the final cut, In the Lion’s Mouth alludes menacingly to the Iraq war:
Shut your bloodshot eyes
In the morning light you’ll go to the war that’s televised…
In the lion’s mouth where the sun don’t shine
Take a long deep breath and say your goodbyes