Hiss Golden Messenger “Jump for Joy”

Merge Records, 2023

MC Taylor’s reflection on his journey to the now is a blessed joy.

Album art HGM Jump for JoyHiss Golden Messenger is MC Taylor’s mouthpiece that has, through song, unwound the strands of his life over the past 25 years including meditations on love, fatherhood, spirituality, depression and much more. This album feels like a continuation and a summation of those themes all set to some cracking Southern soul stews. The trademark gospel tinge sound has been ramped up with an extra dose of swing. The album crackles with energy as Taylor sings through the imagery of his conversation with a teenage alias Micheal Crow. ‘Nu Grape’ has a stomping, swaggering groove featuring some lovely harmonies in the chorus from Aoife O’Donovan and Amy Helm (daughter of Levon)  and ‘Feeling Eternal‘ has an urgency that threatens to become a rock song but is skillfully wrangled to somewhere else by the production and Taylor’s treated vocals as it describes the feelings of youth and immortality.

The title track is a Southern fried delight featuring honky tonk piano drifting in and out over a guitar-driven shuffle and funky drum pattern. Taylor, as usual, lets the music and the musicians speak, the laughter in the middle of the track highlighting the evident joy at making such music. One of the album highlights, and there are many, is ‘The Wondering’. Starting with a sparkly riff that hints at melancholy and joy intertwined and inseparable, Taylor reflects on youth through his alter ego’s eyes before spilling into a glorious chorus featuring the aforementioned O’Donovan and Eric D. Johnson of Fruit Bats and Bonny Light Horseman fame. “I’m still here – just can’t quit wondering”.

This reviewer remembers seeing Hiss Golden Messenger playing in a tiny tent in Golden Gate Park to an audience of very few back in 2014. They have come a long way since then and this album is not only a summation but a statement of intent. It is real, honest, joyful music, it should make you want to think, sing, dance and commune with your fellow man. Gawd bless, MC Taylor!

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About Keith Hargreaves 375 Articles
Riding the one eyed horse into dead town the scales fell from his eyes. Music was the only true god at once profane and divine The dust blew through his mind as he considered the offering... And then he scored it out of ten and waited for the world to wake up
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