Phosphorescent
Here's To Taking It Easy


4.0
excellent

Review

by Keelan H. EMERITUS
May 13th, 2010 | 38 replies | 9,934 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist


The first time I listened to Phosphorescent’s newest album Here’s to Taking It Easy, I was immediately disappointed. I was walking home in the morning from a friend’s place and I had just finished listening to Matt Houck’s last offering of new material, 2007's super-chill Pride, and I wanted more of the same beautiful, harmonized folk walkabouts. So up came opener “It’s Hard to be Humble (When You’re From Alabama)” and I was met with an upbeat parade of string and horn charts. What the ***? This was not what I wanted and I was confounded, dammit. The lesson, of course, to take from this experience is thus: don’t trust your instincts when you’re hung over (and possibly still a little bit drunk). Here’s to Taking It Easy certainly is quite the different beast compared to Pride, don’t get me wrong, but to write it off for not being what I wanted it to be is obviously just stupid. It is clear that Houck has continued the train of thought brought up in To Willie, his tribute to country-folk legend Willie Nelson.

Most importantly though, this record shows Houck as a versatile songwriter, not one who safely sits in pretty chord changes and droning, lullaby melodies. Highlight, “The Mermaid Parade” showcases an alt-country twang reminiscent of early Wilco, with some excellent slide guitar. Houck sings that “our two years of marriage / in two short weeks somehow slipped away” encapsulating the lyrical themes of the album. Themes of love and lost, that while are not particularly original, are presented with an ever present honesty that is felt when Houck sings “love me foolishly” on “Nothing Was Stolen (Love Me Foolishly)”. The song would be the most immediately enjoyable to fans of Pride, with its steady pulse and lovely, warm and familiar vocal melody. “Hej, Me I’m Light” is also an immediately lovable track because it is easily the most intriguing on the album. With the title being the sole lyric, the song is a layered slow burn that simply drips with tension. It is easily the most hypnotic piece of music I have heard this year.

Without the exceptional work of his backing band, Houck could have easily failed in his directional change. But the craftsmanship in the musicianship gives a fresh and vibrant sound to Houck’s natural ability to craft infectious and gorgeous melodies. While songs like “Heaven, I’m Sitting Down” may sometimes resemble too closely Bright Eyes circa I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, Phosphorescent is able to maintain distinction. This is certainly a Phosphorescent album, and while it is far more economical than Pride (only guitar rock solo fueled closer “Los Angeles” stretches past five minutes, at nearly nine), it is no less lovely or endearing. The problems that at times plagued Pride, most notably the length (re: titular closer), have inherently been fixed, however as with any direction change, new ones arise. Ultimately though, Here’s to Taking It Easy is worthy of the attention mastermind Matthew Houck pines for on “Los Angeles”. It’s every bit as chilled out and lovely as Pride was, but in a slightly different package.



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user ratings (28)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
thebhoy
Emeritus
May 13th 2010



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

short little review. Lovin' this album.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2010



15728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

fuck yes

Digging: Alvvays - Alvvays

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2010



15728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

also Hej, Me Im Light is omggg

AggravatedYeti
May 13th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

shit I didn't even know this was coming out.
ace review dude.

thebhoy
Emeritus
May 13th 2010



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hej, Me I'm Light is one of the best things I've heard this year

Ponton
Emeritus
May 13th 2010



5787 Comments


Nice review bhoy. I never heard of this, but ive been into wilco lately so maybe. I heard EC may review this but I'm not sure

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2010



15728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i heard a similar rumor

Ghostechoes
May 13th 2010



1353 Comments


This has been receiving many glowing reviews, I should listen to it soon.

thebhoy
Emeritus
May 13th 2010



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

meh, yours would probably be a bit better. I was in a reviewing funk and I liked this record, so I pooped it out in a half hour.

You should Ghostechoes, it's not even hipster good, it's just like, oh hey they're actually good at music.

Ponton
Emeritus
May 13th 2010



5787 Comments


Been a while since I've seen an EC review.

album stream for those interested, including myself: http://www.spinner.com/new-releases#/13

AggravatedYeti
May 13th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^ thankyou. :D

Ponton
Emeritus
May 13th 2010



5787 Comments


cool feature keelan.

This was good, though I'm not too fond of the vocals here.

thebhoy
Emeritus
May 13th 2010



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

waaaat, the vocals are awesome. Woot, feature.

Ponton
Emeritus
May 13th 2010



5787 Comments


idk, just not my thing

Hmm, other than the occassional pianotuna review, you seem to be the most active contributor these days, reviewing wise. I wonder whats up with the others

BigTuna
May 14th 2010



5154 Comments


This guy sounds awesome

Digging: Common - Nobody's Smiling

Waior
May 14th 2010



11445 Comments


I wonder whats up with the others


I completely forgot how to write reviews. I'll write soon though.

Good review, Keelan, I will be certainly checking this out.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
May 14th 2010



3765 Comments


Great review, it's nice that you started off with the comparison to Pride, gives everything else a nice orientation.

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2010



15728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It really is the easiest way to talk about this album, there's quite a binary between lively and not so lively between the two

thebhoy
Emeritus
May 14th 2010



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it really is, I tried to put in some To Willie as well because this kind of seems like in between that and Pride. Los Angeles is really growing on me, though I think the guitar solo may be just a bit too long, I love the vocal harmonies in the chorus.

tombits
May 15th 2010



3470 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pride was great, so I'll be checking this out. Good review dude!



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