Listened to half-cocked, the latest instalment in this North Carolina/NYC duo’s excursions into revivalism sounds like fundamental religious country-folk. A lot of it comes from the darker recesses of the soul, but MC Taylor and Scott Hirsch aren’t into peddling hokum.
According to Taylor, the album is about “the joy and junk that is the parcel of life”. Recorded in a studio under Brooklyn Bridge, Poor Moon operates in a hinterland itself – one where Taylor sings Jesus Shot Me In The Head without a note of sarcasm and then follows that revelation with a truly cracked observation about addiction called Super Blue (Two Days Clean). They may use cellos and string song lines along tropes familiar to Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings, but these guys are hardcore in their own right, with Hirsch spinning his melodic ideas against Taylor unique crackle of a voice. The oblique Westering is one of many gems, quiet fire and brimstone with a side order of electrical storm, while the closing Blue Country Mystic simply soars into space. It’s pretty rare to hear a band tackle states of distress and salvation with such grace, but Hiss Golden Messenger are no ordinary outfit.