Phosphorescent – Muchacho

It’s been a few years since ‘Here’s to Taking it Easy’ but now Phosphorescent the working moniker of Matthew Houck returns with probably his most accessible album to date. The short but sweet ‘Muchacho’ is a vibrant mix of styles bookended by the mellow intro/outro of ‘Sun, Arise!’ and ‘Sun’s Arising’. ‘Song For Zula’ veers dangerously close to U2 but somehow manages to end up more in the Bon Iver camp, this is followed by the catchy acoustic Bolen rumble of ‘Ride On / Right On’ with its meandering tune and jubilant woos. ‘Terror In The Canyons (The Wounded Master)’ sounds a lot like Wilco, beautiful Americana with a drop of experimentation. ‘A Charm / A Blade’ bursts into life at the chorus with a brass section that recalls The Polyphonic Spree at their most joyous. ‘Muchacho’s Tune’ is based around a gorgeous slide guitar that underpins the song and compliments Houck’s vocals whereas the atmospheric piano in ‘A New Anhedonia’ shows a more melancholy side, as does ‘Down To Go’ which is like early Bonnie Prince Billy.  I really like ‘The Quotidian Beasts’ but then I also like ‘Wicked Game’ by Chris Isaak which it does resemble slightly, others might not be so forgiving. Lyrically and musically Houck is on top form and it’s hard not to fall for this record despite its short running time and if nothing else it’s a good starting place for new fans to discover his understated talent.


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