Hiss Golden Messenger – Heart Like A Levee
In the Instagram post that accompanied the release of Heart Like A Levee, MC Taylor wrote that he never explained his songs, but he did say that this new collection was meant to be hopeful. Maybe he should have said redemptive. For there’s a very spiritual aspect to MC Taylor and to this record. There’s mention of the ‘Lion of Judah’. Terms such as ‘grace’, ‘Lord’, ‘sinner’, and ‘spirit’ itself are sprinkled liberally across the songs. And there are more indirect Biblical references too. These are not words and phrases that simply fall from the skies, at least not in such numbers. But this is not a preachy album. Quite the opposite. The songs seem to turn inwards, pointing to the self-inflicted consequences of personal choices, notably the effect on family of long absences brought about by touring. For those already well versed in Hiss’s musical message, there’s plenty of familiarity to the sound, particularly in songs like ‘Cracked Windshield’. Happily, though, Heart Like A Levee builds nicely on its magnificent predecessor, Lateness of Dancers. Indeed, the album begins with a wonderful suite of songs that are perhaps the most ambitious and fully realised of anything that MC Taylor and his Golden Messengers have produced to date. When your heart’s like a levee, then it can either withstand the strain, or it breaks. Plenty of musicians on tour, plenty of musicians, plenty of artists indeed have found the pressure too much to take. This album confirms that MC Taylor has great spirit. And it seems to help him manage the pressure that being a creative artist places upon him. More power to him and to HGM.