Phosphorescent
Muchacho


3.5
great

Review

by JoeJANB USER (10 Reviews)
March 28th, 2013 | 13 replies


Release Date: 03/18/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A damn fine folk-infused indie-rock album perfect for a lazy afternoon.

Matthew Houck has been releasing albums under the nom de plume Phosphorescent since 2003′s A Hundred Times or More. Fast-forward ten years and here we have Muchacho. It’s the product of Houck’s escape to Mexico after the critical success of his fifth effort, the ironically titled (at least in retrospect) Here’s to Taking It Easy. It’s a delightful combination of chamber-pop and those staple indie-rock sensibilities, and a fitting culmination of Houck’s work in the years prior.

From the outset, ‘Sun, Arise!’ sets a calm mood, with a beautiful vocal arrangement that literally serves as a morning chorus. It’s an incredibly bright sound, and single ‘Song For Zula’ fuses a wonderful violin refrain with a synth bass-line and a drum machine. It might sound like a horrible concoction in theory, but in reality it works wonderfully. In fact, it’s this synth/drum machine spine that Houck forms his songs around in the early part of the album. The trend continues on ‘Ride On / Right On’, Houck showcasing his distinctive cracked, off-kilter vocal style behind a fuzzy backbeat. ‘Terror In The Canyons’ draws upon Houck’s upbringing in the West – it has a definite country feel, most of the ‘modern’ instrumentation is dispensed with to some degree for some gentle and welcome nostalgia.

‘A Charm / A Blade’ has great single potential, switching between an introspective opening to a big finish. In many ways, it recalls a less bold/loud Arcade Fire, infused with some Harvest-era Neil Young. Indeed, Houck cherry picks from a slew of influences – the likes of Bon Iver is fairly evident here too. Traditional Mexican themes are also woven in on the likes of ‘Muchacho’s Tune’ (surely a by-product of where Houck spent the past few years) to add a fresh twist to the record’s melting pot of folk, chamber-pop, Americana, indie rock and even country. The album winds back to ‘Sun Arising’ – revisiting the album’s first track – providing a setting sun for an album that ultimately recalls a sunny afternoon (*feel free to add your own Ray Davies quip here*).

All of Muchacho has a warm and inviting feel, but it’s Houck’s talent for and instrument choices and their arrangement that allows the record to avoid being a mere homage to past styles and worn-out concepts. Rather, Muchacho transcends all this by drawing old and new concepts together to craft a damn fine folksy indie-rock album.



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user ratings (66)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
March 28th 2013


7338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty good review, agree with the rating.

I absolutely love the first half of this, but it drops off badly from track six onwards imo.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
March 28th 2013


7026 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nah, tracks 7 and 8 are two of my favorites.

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AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
March 28th 2013


7338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Each to their own and all, but half way through my first listen I thought this was going to be an album of the year contender.

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
March 28th 2013


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

HEY COUNTRY FANS! CHECK OUT DANIEL ROMANO'S BULL LASSOING GOOD TIME - COME CRY WITH ME. YOU'LL WANT TO PUT SOME HAY BETWEEN YOUR TEETH OR YOUR MONEY BACK.

Cygnatti
March 28th 2013


21352 Comments


This guy seems interest. As long as he has a lot of indie and less folk, I'll be happy.

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Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 28th 2013


23816 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

When given the option of clicking two links under your review, one saying "Yes" and the other saying "No," I decided that, indeed, the review WAS well-written, and therefore, I moved my cursor over to "Yes" link and applied some light pressure on my mouse with my index finger, at which point, I was directed to a page informing me that my vote had, indeed, been counted.

halloway
April 13th 2013


684 Comments


Just heard "Ride On / Right On," fun jam.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 16th 2013


15035 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

love "song for zula"

avonbarksdale221
May 16th 2013


8229 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

One of the better songs I've heard this year. That and "The Quotidian Beasts" are easily the best off
this.

Ziio
May 19th 2013


55 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with Ali that the second half of this is no where near as strong as the first, save for The Quotidian Beasts which might be the second best song on the album. Song for Zula being the best.

plane
Staff Reviewer
August 15th 2013


6094 Comments


This album is a grower.

SeaAnemone
December 2nd 2013


20304 Comments


didn't even know about this??

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DeafMetal
March 5th 2014


8588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

album rocks

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