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|1. Sun, Arise! (An Invocation, An Introduction)|
|2. Song For Zula|
|3. Ride On / Right On|
|4. Terror In The Canyons (The Wounded Master)|
|5. A Charm / A Blade|
|6. Muchacho's Tune|
|7. A New Anhedonia|
|8. The Quotidian Beasts|
|9. Down To Go|
|10. Sun's Arising (A Koan, An Exit)|
Exhausted following a lengthy stint touring 2010’s acclaimed Here’s to Taking It Easy, the Alabama-born singer-songwriter returned to Brooklyn and bought a bunch of old analogue gear.
Duly equipped, he began cooking up “strange sound pieces”. “I was thinking I might make an ambient record that had vocals, but no lyrics,” he says of this period.
A sudden, unexplained domestic crisis forced his hand, however, leading to an impulsive trip down to Mexico’s Yucután peninsula in the opening months of 2012.
He spent a week there, living in a beach hut and working on his songs, before returning to New York and restoring some sense of order to his life.
At its best Muchacho reflects this yearning for tranquillity, offering the listener a window into Houck’s fuzzy and bruised yet generally hopeful mindset.
Song for Zula is a remarkable thing. Coasting on soft, electronic beats and programmed strings, Houck imparts a devastating clutch of verses that undermine the notion of love as something transcendent and divine.
Instead, he paints it “a caging thing ... a killer come to call from some awful dream”. A sense of the hurt it was presumably born out of lingers strong, completely at odds with the music it rests upon. The effect is mesmerising.
Songs like Ride On / Right On and A Charm / A Blade don’t fare quite so well. The former is built around a two-note riff and an insouciant, yelping vocal that is especially jarring in the wake of something like Song for Zula, while the latter lapses into classic rock cliché just a little too wholeheartedly.
Yet Muchacho’s Tune is as frank and lovely a promise of redemption as you’re likely to hear all year. Weighty, elegant music is a more natural fit for Houck, as songs like this and A New Anhedonia emphatically confirm.
Over the back-end of the LP he heads deeper into this kind of sweeping territory, brushing aside earlier missteps. Muchacho is a vibrant, evocative LP, and a welcome addition to the Phosphorescent catalogue.
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cracking - bought it randomly having heard the stunning Song for Zula and not regretted it at all.Published 9 days ago by Tom
this was a revelation of last year;one of the few records in the lists of best of the year that I think deserved the honor;the music feels like dragging you in, lets you lie down... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Nikolaos Oikonomidis
Sadly the recording is flat and lifeless (like many modern recordings - probably compressed to death). Some decent tracks for the car but not for the recording quality.Published 14 months ago by A. Moore
Never heard of these until Green Man Festival 2013. Not that I actually went to see them - only read about how good they were on the forums after the festival. Read morePublished 15 months ago by The Old Dead Pig
American Lo-Fi Indie Rock act Phosphorescent (a.k.a. Matthew Houck) released his sixth studio album, Muchacho, to widespread critical acclaim. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Volt & Volume
Amazing fabulous album. Track 2 is one of the most beautiful tracks I have ever heard in my life. BeautifulPublished 18 months ago by Claire Hill
Brilliant brilliant album full of excellent songs with "Song for Zula" and "Ride On, Right On" alone being good enough to justify buying it.Published 20 months ago by C. Jack