North Mississippi Allstars

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

The first two tracks on the North Mississippi Allstars’ fifth album are a bluff. They build from Bo Diddley booms and Howlin’ Wolf hums into latter-day blues-rock à la the Black Keys. But Hernando is schizophrenic: It soon lurches from “Soldier,” a jungle of riffs and exploratory solos, to the too-conventional blues progressions of “Eaglebird.” The early-’90s swing of “Blow Out” arrives midway through, sending the whole affair off the rails.

It’s possible the Hernando, Mississippi, trio is just confused; the band has always toed the line between four-on-the-floor rock and far-out jams. The Allstars exist in that hazy sphere epitomized by scrambled festivals like Bonnaroo, where groups as different as Tool and Widespread Panic have coheadlined. When the Allstars sing, “I’d love to be a hippie, but my hair won’t grow that long,” it seems even they are now aware of their predicament.

—Colin St. John

North Mississippi Allstars play Highline Ballroom Tue 29.

Hernando (Sounds of the South)