Lateness of Dancers
Having jumped to the estimable indie label Merge for their fifth album, Hiss Golden Messenger maintain the full-band sound of their previous album, Haw, with a number of guests joining the core duo of M.C. Taylor and bassist Scott Hirsch. The early comparisons to Will Oldham are now pushed toward the full-on alt-country of Wilco and their likenesses. Solid drummer Terry Lonergan, guitarist William Tyler, Mountain Man’s Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and Megafaun’s Phil and Brad Cook are among the ranks, and they help Taylor bring together an album that sounds steeped in Basement Tapes to New Morning–era Bob Dylan, Memphis soul, Fame Studios, New Orleans dry funk, and vintage Americana. “Day O Day (A Love So Free)” clops through the mountain passes with a flat early-‘70s bass guitar thump and rolling piano. “Saturday’s Song” brings to mind Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes” before Taylor settles for a Dylan feel. A multitude of perfect moments eventually add up to a solid, understated album.