Phosphorescent: Here's to Taking It Easy (Dead Oceans)

 |   |  1 min read

Phosphorescent: The Mermaid Parade
Phosphorescent: Here's to Taking It Easy (Dead Oceans)

The last album by this band -- the vehicle for Matthew Houck -- was their tribute to Willie Nelson, but this time out it is all original material and the energy levels are kicked up, notably on the Band/Black Crowes/E Street opener It's Hard to be Humble (When You're From Alabama).

Rolling steel guitars and a country-rock mood propel Nothing Was Stolen and the mood here is that you might expect in a tour bus on the road across the great expanse of America: characters (mostly Houck) are rootless and restless, travelling in the real or inner world, knowing he's making others unhappy but accepting thaat is his condition . . .

When the mood cuts right back to a more folksy sway (the lovely We'll Be Here Soon) there is gentle melodicism which takes over (and in that case a guitar that could have come from Willie), and a wistful quality which is engaging.

At the other end -- literally, the final track -- he hunkers down with the dark menace Neil Young brought to On the Beach for a meditation on Los Angeles (and maybe the dreams shattered in the music business).

Hej, Me I'm Light (those the sole lyrics) sounds like a weirdly trippy campfire chant with layered vocals and soft drums, but equally he pulls out the litany of indifference on I Don't Care if There's Cursing which, again over pedal steel, is quiet country-rock with an alt bent.

This is a complex album from an artist who cannot and will not be easily categorised -- and is all the better for that.

Longtime listening guaranteed. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Patty Larkin: 25 (Signature)

Patty Larkin: 25 (Signature)

Celebrating 25 years in music usually means a greatest hits, box set or some kind of attention-grabbing project. It is typical and a measure of Larkin's generous nature that rather than go that... > Read more

Tono and the Finance Company: Up Here for Dancing (Tono)

Tono and the Finance Company: Up Here for Dancing (Tono)

In one of the most engaging, seemingly simple but quietly resonant and loaded covers on any local album in recent years, comes this delightful collection by Anthonie Tonnon (aka Tono) and the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

RHONA HASZARD: Portrait of the artist as a young woman (2004)

RHONA HASZARD: Portrait of the artist as a young woman (2004)

Popular culture loves nothing so much as the early death of an obvious talent. We are left with questions and the speculation on just what direction the gift might have moved in had the artist... > Read more

Mika's Coconut Fish (Samoa)

Mika's Coconut Fish (Samoa)

Like many people visiting Coconuts Beach Club Hotel on Samoa's Upolu Island, I ran into Mika over drinks at his famous 3-Stool Bar in the resort. He was great company, had some very funny stories,... > Read more