Hiss Golden Messenger: Jump for Joy
There’s no shortage of excellent indie-Americana songwriters these days so it is easy to overlook M.C. Taylor and his now longstanding Hiss Golden Messenger outfit. But that’s not recommended. Throughout his body of work, and especially during the last several years, Taylor’s albums have become increasingly intricate in ways that feel familiar—he’s not huge on sonic experimentation—yet still new. Taylor has said that the mood he aimed to capture with Jump for Joy is exactly what the title references—a feeling that’s “laughing in the face of catastrophe.” Recorded in just two weeks outside of El Paso, Texas, the album’s 14 tracks delve deeper into rock-and-roll than Taylor has on previous efforts. Songs like “Feeling Eternal,” “Shinbone” and “I Saw the New Day in the World” sound like long-lost relics from the ‘80s, when slick sunglasses and Huey Lewis ruled the airwaves, giving off a driving, synthy feel. “20 Years and a Nickel” weaves bouncy funk elements over a soft piano presence, while Taylor manages to make the line “Guess I shoulda been smarter” feel upbeat. That same feeling of actualization shines especially bright on the album’s lead single, “Nu-Grape,” which comes complete with saxophones, a driving piano line and an overall gospel vibe. It’s rock from multiple eras mixed into moments of joy, defiance and acceptance. If you’re concerned about the state of the world—and who isn’t?—then Jump for Joy is certainly a reprieve that will let you see the other side for a moment.