If this debut EP were only an excuse to create a supergroup out of organist Joe Krown, drummer Doug Belote, and Groovesect and Gravity A guitarist Danny Abel, it would demand attention, but the Asylum Chorus is just that—eight of the city’s finest vocalists gathered together as a bulwark of sorts against ignorance, not so much a glee club with balls or even a chorale covering rock but a Crescent City Staple Singers writ large, complete with their own in-house songs, trained in soul but also the very definition of musically multipurpose.
Nevertheless, gospel righteousness fuels everything they do here—six songs which promote love, inclusion, truth and spiritual fortitude in a world which appears to have given up on them all. (“Buy new shoes and we keep on walking. The truth depends on whoever’s talking.”) And eight vocalists just means there’s more of them to love: Five of the eight get to sing their own words, which means you can enjoy the flavor of their individual personalities just like they were a boy band for smart adults. Amy is the romantic with the electric piano. Roan wants a lover with a brain. Hannah keeps her eyes on the prize, while Sybil knows the odds are against her and Lucas is determined to lead the charge. If that sounds dismissive, it isn’t meant to be: The Grammys, in particular, are dying for a positive, progressive blended family of roots-music powerhouses just like this. As for the other three voices, they need a spotlight, too. But that’s what the full album is for. And they will get one.