Alabama-raised and Georgia-based singer-songwriter
Phosphorescent (Matthew Houck) debuted in the vein of
a diligent pupil of
A Hundred Times or More (2003), containing the agonizing
How Far We All Come Away and the lengthy, waltzing
instrumental Pretty Part 2;
on the haunting and gloomy Aw Come Aw Wry (Misra, 2005);
and on Pride (Dead Oceans, 2007),
containing the nine-minute lament My Dove My Lamb, reminiscent of early
Neil Young (harmonica, backing vocals and no rhythm).
To Willie (2009) was a Willie Nelson tribute album.
Meanwhile, Houck had relocated to New York.
Here's to Taking it Easy (2010) is more lively than the early albums,
being split between moving elegies
(The Mermaid Parade and Tell Me Baby) and rocking numbers
(It's Hard To Be Humble, I Don't Care If There's Cursing),
peaking with the martial nine-minute Neil Young-ish rumination
Muchacho (Dead Oceans, 2013), instead, went for electronic arrangements,
beginning with Sun Arise, that sounds like a Hawaiian hymn for multitracked vocals and electronic fluctuations and peaking with
Song for Zula, closer in spirit to the solemn synth-pop of the Pet Shop Boys (although with reggae overtones) than to alt-country, via the
Abba-esque singalong A Charm a Blade (echoes of Chiquitita).
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