Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)
Much of Scott Hirsch’s musical attention over the past decade has been dedicated to the folk-rock ensemble Hiss Golden Messenger. He’s performed on, engineered, and produced several of the band’s records. As a solo artist, Hirsch brings some of the headier sensibilities of the earliest half of the Hiss Golden Messenger catalog into full bloom. His second standalone effort, Lost Time Behind the Moon, offers a fresh batch of songs that kick back to classic country, tempered with a satisfying dose of psychedelia.
The album’s anxious opening salvos—wriggling, warped guitar and a sparse drum-machine beat, followed by a warm blast of old-soul horns—offer immediate insights into its unwieldy style. Hirsch develops these jittery arrangements as extensions of the album’s overarching themes of love, comfort-seeking, and (as suggested by the title) the passage of time. “Nothing But Time,” for example, finds Hirsch ruminating on the past with familiar remember-when fondness, without becoming too beholden to the good or the bad: “She’s in my head too much now / Not to mention in my dreams / And all these tales we’ve spun / They fell apart at the seams.”
The relaxed pace that Hirsch maintains across Lost Time Behind the Moon is a steadying force; Hirsch seems to approach his troubles with clear-headed thoughtfulness rather than scattered panic. Waves of pedal steel and pools of reverberating guitar lend a complementary sense of fluidity to the entire record, abetted by Hirsch’s cosmic lyricism on the lithe instrumental numbers “A Pair of Nines” and “Pink Moment.” By most accounts, reckoning with all the years we’ve lost, wasted—or even just passed without incident—is like fingering some existential hair-trigger. Hirsch’s record, by contrast, provides a comforting reminder of the inverse argument: it’s simply a matter of time.