Given the expansive, spacious, and precise sound that Michigan's The Soil & the Sun achieves on Meridian - the band's third record - two things leap out from its history: that what's now a seven-piece ensemble started as a duo, and that its first two albums were home-recorded by people who didn't really know what they were doing.
Meridian - released in August - marks the first time the group worked with a producer, and the most obvious difference from its predecessors is in its choir-like group vocals, particularly on "How Long." The band has retained its orchestral breadth and adventurousness, but with its soaring collective singing the album becomes something more celestial; songs dominated by gloomy clouds have given way to bright stars.
Working in a proper studio "was a little bit overwhelming, actually," said frontman, primary songwriter, and co-founder Alex McGrath in a recent phone interview, promoting The Soil & the Sun's December 4 performance at Rozz-Tox. "We had the whole world opened up to us, really for the first time. We had to exercise some restraint and not get too caught up in effects ... ."