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Hiss Golden Messenger (Merge)

Continuing a 16-year career with umpteen releases, the latest effort from Hiss Golden Messenger, Jump For Joy, might be the most deceptively diverse and adventurous release of 2023. Starting with the tale of a songwriter troubled by his craft, “20 Years And A Nickel,” the record continues through 13 more tracks with stories of the pain and triumph of spending your life searching for various things like love, self and direction, while following your own muse.

The opening track gives way to “I Saw The New Day In The World,” where the narrator is leaving and myopically looking for the dream, missing all the opportunity around him, followed by “Shinbone,” where the hero feels he could be and do more, if only he wasn’t always taking chances. And so it goes until reaching Jump For Joy’s pivotal tune, “Feeling Eternal,” persuasively putting forth that this isn’t the first – or the last – time any of us is doing all of this. Then the title track re-images the sense of plaintive yearning in the search for oneself into a sense of positive anticipation of the next search in life, a theme that continues until the closing “Sunset On The Faders,” which circles back to questioning the impact of the art.

Hiss Golden Messenger doesn’t just take us on an emotional journey, but an aural one as well, reaching across all the influences and styles that have been part of M.C. Taylor’s band’s journey. The Pop, Folk, Rock, Soul, Psychedelia and R&B worlds all welcome us in for a short visit, as Taylor deftly paints the perfect musical background to each of his lyrics. Hiss is currently spreading its message on the road, while KXT, Lightning 100, Radio Milwaukee, KRVB, The Spectrum and WYEP are a mere smattering of all the stations also on the search.


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