Can southern gothic be playful? That’s one question raised by the fifth album from Alynda Lee Segarra’s troupe. Small Town Heroes places at its centre The Body Electric, a song that takes the template of the murder ballad – “He shot her down, put her body in the river” – then asks why the killing of women becomes a fit subject for entertainment, “while the whole world sings/ sings it like a song”. The playfulness, too, is apparent in the way Small Town Heroes flits across genres, but without seeming to be America on Ritalin. The opening Blue Ridge Mountains posits it as a respectful nod to old-time music, yet as the album plays, with barely changing acoustic instrumentation, doo wop and early R&B start to make their presence felt. You might call it a postmodern take on 20th-century American music, but it’s so warm and welcoming that it never feels like an exercise in technique or a mere demonstration of knowledge.