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

OK Go: Of the Blue Colour of the Sky (Capitol)

OK Go: Of the Blue Colour of the Sky (Capitol)

At the recent Laneways Festival it was noticeable every young band delivered up its obligatory noise segment -- feedback, atonal guitar trash'n'trash -- as if to prove its indie-alt cred. But... > Read more

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Various Artists: Tradi-Mods Vs Rockers (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Various Artists: Tradi-Mods Vs Rockers (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Subtitled “Alternative Takes on Congotronics”, this well-annotated double disc lets loose alternative and post-rock acts on the lo-fi but compelling music from Kinshasa dance clubs... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Neil Young: Out to lunch

Neil Young: Out to lunch

Nothing showy here, but I've spoken to Neil Young three times. And the man was boring and awkward every time. But that's just my opinion. I've never understood why musicians -- especially those... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . WILD MAN FISCHER: Psycho street singer and shouter

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . WILD MAN FISCHER: Psycho street singer and shouter

Given Frank Zappa's proclivity towards oddball performers and different musicians -- Captain Beefheart, the GTOs, the Shaggs -- it's hardly surprising he should be the one who brought Wild Man... > Read more