Local Wire

Phosphorescent

Hold a Will Oldham look-alike contest, and Alabama native Matthew Houck might just win it (not that you could tell from his severely backlit Pride album cover). And like Oldham's former Palace Music collective, Phosphorescent is pretty much Houck and whatever cats he drags in with him. But that, my friend, regardless of what other critics might tell you, is where the similarities end, for Houck's music favors the ethereal over twang, and harmonies of crackling uncertainty over a singularly confident drawl. And though Houck has left the South with a recent move to Brooklyn, he does not resist looking back. In his best work, like "Wolves," Houck's first song written in New York, sparse orchestration (a pump organ here, a ukulele there) provides a bedrock for layers of voices, thin like a cabin window without insulation, vulnerable, and hauntingly transparent. What remains is something tenuous, transforming and, in just the right moonlight, resoundingly timeless.
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Rob Trucks