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

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss; Raising Sand (Rounder) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss; Raising Sand (Rounder) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

From what seems a most unlikely pairing -- the former Led Zepp frontman and the "new bluegrass" singer/fiddle player -- comes one of the best albums of the year: an often eerie... > Read more

The Greencards: Viridian (Dualtone)

The Greencards: Viridian (Dualtone)

Canny name for a band of two Australians and an Englishman who formed in Austin in 2003 to play high-energy fiddle-driven bluegrass and alt.country. The following year these imports were named... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . .  HAYSEED DIXIE: The wacky world of hillbilly humour

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . HAYSEED DIXIE: The wacky world of hillbilly humour

The remote community of Deer Lick Holler in the Appalachians isn't on the way to anywhere, so there aren't many outside influences. It's where musicologists go to study authentic hillbilly music --... > Read more

JUSTIN BIEBER: TEEN IDOL, a doco by MAUREEN GOLDTHORPE

JUSTIN BIEBER: TEEN IDOL, a doco by MAUREEN GOLDTHORPE

When Justin Bieber seemingly appeared out of nowhere to the soundtrack of cute r'n'b pop and screaming girls, people who should have known better -- especially those media commentators who had been... > Read more