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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Phosphorescent - Pedal Steel Electronica
Up until now Matthew Houck the guiding light behind the Phosphorescent moniker has specialised in warm slices of road weary Americana not least 2010's rollicking "Here's to taking it easy" and of course his earlier tribute to a great country outlaw "To Willie". There has always been in Houck however an inner Neil Young screaming to experiment and push the envelope. On...
Published 16 months ago by Red on Black

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good content very average recording
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 5 months ago by A. Moore


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Phosphorescent - Pedal Steel Electronica, 18 Mar 2013
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Muchacho (Audio CD)
Up until now Matthew Houck the guiding light behind the Phosphorescent moniker has specialised in warm slices of road weary Americana not least 2010's rollicking "Here's to taking it easy" and of course his earlier tribute to a great country outlaw "To Willie". There has always been in Houck however an inner Neil Young screaming to experiment and push the envelope. On "Taking it easy" hidden amongst the country rumble was "Los Angeles" a huge rolling beast of a song which really was a meeting of rustic Alabama and experimental Brooklyn combining Houck's own geographical journey from rural to urban. His new album "Muchacho" plays a different card derived from Houck's decamp to Mexico following relentess touring and exhaustion. The restless troubadour has therefore incorporated for the first time electronica in a big way into his songs and packed them full of undulating synthesiser arpeggios not least the opening shot of "Sun Arise - an invocation, an introduction" a sort of Fleet Foxes hymnal meets Aphex Twin oceanic beats and bass lines. The album is bookended by its counterpart "Sun's Arising "A Koan, an exit" essentially the same track but slightly more acoustic. If you love spiritual harmony tunes then this will push all your buttons but frankly for this reviewer one bite of this particular cherry was already pushing it and the second portion created musical indigestion. Much better is the splendid signature track from the album "Song for Zula". Here the combination of Houck's reedy voice and slabs of synth combine in a great song underpinned by soaring pedal steel. Everything is in its right place on this track and it should be the immediate target for a download. More traditional Houck territory is explored on "Terror in the Canyon" a lovely alt country anthem infused with bar room heartbreak while "Down to go" multiplies this by a factor of two. It is a good old country heartbreaker infused with a mournful mariachi trumpet solo winding through its passages infusing it with a border Rio Grande atmosphere. When Houck sings "Oh, you'll spin your heartache into gold,....but it rips my heart out don't you know" you feel the wounded hurt.

"Muchacho's Tune" is a road weary pastoral tune that proves that Stephen Fry's maxim that "It would be impossible to imagine going through life without swearing, and without enjoying swearing,". More powerful is the haunting "A New Anhedonia" which is a distant cousin of "Los Angeles" and contains Houck's best vocal, likewise the seven minute plus "The Quotidian Beasts" is tortured redemptive country and the hardest rocking track on the album. The problem is that amongst all this finery are tracks which really don't add much in the memorable tunes stakes not least the very repetitive "Ride on/Right on". As such on "Muchacho" Houck is to be applauded for his ambition but not always his execution. There is enough on here to place this album into the box marked "success" and it makes the next stage of Houck's musical evolution one well worth following.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting, beautiful and intelligent album, 18 Mar 2013
By 
Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
I came to this album as a Phosphorescent novice on the recommendation of a friend. I have plainly been missing out by not hearing him sooner.

I'm not in a position to compare this to other Phosphorescent albums, but I think Muchacho is a very good album indeed, with thoughtful, haunting and intelligent songs, beautifully arranged and - in their idiosyncratic way - very well sung. The instrumental backing is rich, electronic and very beautiful. There is a mixture of the mournful and the hopeful here, and a mixture of styles, too, held together by the slightly cracked, mixed-back and multi-tracked vocals which I found very expressive and affecting.

I think that there are some things about this album which remind me of Leonard Cohen. Now, I know it sounds absolutely nothing like a Cohen album, but Matthew Houck has the same ability to write a straightforward but lovely tune and to put things into extremely evocative, sometimes elusive words. The brilliant Muchacho's Tune is a good example - haunting, self-excoriating and in search of redemption. I don't want to push the comparison too far because things like the vocals and overall sound here and on Old Ideas, for example, couldn't be more different but I do think he shares some of Cohen's genius for conjuring insight and feeling in a song. I mean that as the highest praise.

This was a surprising and delightful discovery for me, and I'm now off to seek out some of Phosphorescent's other work. It's a really fine album and warmly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His best yet, 11 May 2013
By 
P. Smith "Pablo" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Muchacho (Audio CD)
Matthew Haouck delivers a beautifully crafted album from start to finish. Filled with gentle layers of guitar, drums and synth topped off with his amazing voice. An album crafted for Sunday mornings. A highlight of the year.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amar al Muchacho, 23 April 2013
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This review is from: Muchacho [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Slow burn it may be but it's a thing of beauty just the same. What record players were made for. Buy.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful soaring melodies, 15 May 2013
By 
Mrs. Cher E. Wray (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Muchacho (Audio CD)
The only reason I bought this cd was because there was a phosphorescent track on a free cd that I bought with a music mag. Loved the track so much, bought the cd. Glad I did, it is absolutely brilliant. Buy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing album, 10 Jan 2014
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I was recommended this album just before Christmas. It gripped me on a first listen. It sounded fresh, haunting, great voice, great music.

I played it most for Christmas and into the New Year. I had to rate it the top album of 2013.

Do buy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My New Favorite Band, 16 Nov 2013
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My new very very favorite band, love it! I'd highly recommend this album or anything by this band to anyone
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this!, 28 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Muchacho (Audio CD)
Amazing fabulous album. Track 2 is one of the most beautiful tracks I have ever heard in my life. Beautiful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 7 Aug 2013
By 
C. Jack "colinjack" (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
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Brilliant brilliant album full of excellent songs with "Song for Zula" and "Ride On, Right On" alone being good enough to justify buying it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars delicious, 7 July 2013
By 
Ronald Perz "hibbing41" (neukirchen) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Muchacho (Audio CD)
phosphorescent is one of my fave group since their cd "pride", saw them live about 2 years ago. i own all of their cds and of course i had to purchase "muchacho" too, and i was not disappointed ....
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Muchacho by Phosphorescent (Audio CD - 2013)
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