Hiss Golden Messenger - Southern Grammar [VINYL] - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Hiss Golden Messenger - Southern Grammar [VINYL]

by Nathan Fidler Rating:8 Release Date:2015-02-02

An EP can either be a great way to introduce yourself to a band, or a terrible one. Thankfully, Southern Grammar by Hiss Golden Messenger is the former of the two, three tracks which sum up what the band is all about in a succinct manner.

If you have ever felt ripped off when an EP track later appears on a full album or visa versa, then you should definitely check out the live version of track ‘Southern Grammar’, originally from last year's Lateness of Dancers. It’s a far more scorched version here, encapsulating the heat of the south with saxophone and slightly more strangled vocals, swinging from the streets to the church and on to the bar without you knowing it's a live recording. ‘Brother, Do You Know the Road?’, meanwhile, is a six-minute, slow-burning tale of a fiddler having his fiddle smashed amidst other poignant lyricism, which should give you a sense of where this band's strengths lie.

What Hiss Golden Messenger have in the folky, Americana style is something partway between Cat Stevens and Bob Dylan, with a dash more seriousness. What might seem slightly dull on the first listen turns into pained poetry. “When the Romans come on that final day/ I’m going to walk right up and shake my saviours hand,” is the opening line of ‘He Wrote the Book’, which pulls you in and keeps you at full attention.

While we might yearn for a little more romp and stomp from this band, they’ve certainly carved out several strong albums on the back of this kind of music. It’s usually only the hardy fan who will make the effort to search out an EP, but you’d be doing yourself a favour to drink this one in over a few listens, then head off for some full-length album indulgence.

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