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Phosphorescent's Matthew Houck is probably one of those American writers and singers who knows that in ten years time a coterie of very hip young bands will record a huge tribute to his songs, it will knock up mildly respectable sales, although nothing special and those "in the know" will name check him as an influence. Last year Houck did something very similar by recording a very strong album of Willie Nelson covers which didn't go overboard on the usual song suspects but was a joy to behold.

Thus we have the latest release from Phosphorescent aptly titled "Here's to taking it easy" a warm slice of road weary Americana with the emphasis on country (slides guitars are everywhere) rather than rock and with a couple of classic dark songs thrown in for good measure. The highlights come in the form of the bright brassy opener "Its hard to be humble when your from Alabama" where Houck opens with the well worn country observation that "Baby, all these cities, ain't they all startin' to look all the same"?. Things get darker on two outstanding alternative country ballads the first "Tell me baby have you had enough" a love song in the form of an apology with a nice guitar solo that which will not leave a dry eye in the house . "The Mermaid Parade" is one of the the albums true highlights and is another classic cracked heart ballad where Houck narrates a failed trip to the airport and wandering around Coney Island reflecting on a broken marriage and its consequences. With luck a Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard or even Ryan Adams (when he stops mopping around the place) will pick it up and turn it into a huge country hit. Finally mention should go to the gently amusing "I don't care if there's cursing" a rolling slide guitar driven song, and to one of the best songs of 2010 the eight minute plus "Neil Young like" gritty guitar driven epic "Los Angeles" providing a truly stellar finish to a excellent and solid country album. Granted no new ground is broken here and if you don't like country stay clear, but like fellow artist Jason Molina, the songs of Matthew Houck are vulnerable and so tender and all his albums repay your investment. Phosphorescence is a process in which energy absorbed by a substance is released relatively slowly in the form of light, it is the perfect description of this slow burning classic.
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I am a new convert to Phosphorescent and have found it a welcome awakening. I genuinely love this album but feel it may be seen as a departure from what has gone before but if that is the case it is not a bad one. As the other reviewer has said this is a country/alt/americana album with steel guitar and slide prevalant throughout. I can see all the comparisons with Neil Young etc but also see touches of Okkervil River especially in the story telling theme that seems to run through the album, and a bit of Son Volt too. There is one track that has just one line which is used as a rythmic chant to enhance the music build up and instrumental over lays - 'Hey I'm light', this has been done by many but notably the Duke and the King on thier debut album and it really does work.

I dont think there is a bad track on this beautifullly balanced work but agree stand out tracks are 'Mermaid Parade' and the quite frankly too short 'Los Angelas', as the 8 minutes or so just flow by still leaving you wanting more. Mathew Houch seems to have a knack for knowing when less is more and when a song can be lifted by the addition of a harmonica or extra guitar layer or even a horn- it is just luscious. I actually highly recommend it and probably should have given 5 stars.
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on 25 October 2010
I saw these guys at the end of the road festival recently and liked the cut of their jib - 'here's to taking it easy', now that's a concept i can get on board with. It's an enjoyable album, I found the vocals reminded me a bit of Bonnie Prince Billie which is good. I'd recommend to anyone who is interested in this genre of music.
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on 6 September 2010
I had only heard one song from Phospherescent (Mermaid parade) and purchased this album on the strength of that. It was well worth it, it is an excellent album, I have listened to it over and over again. I would recommend everyone to buy it!
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on 3 August 2010
out shopping the other day i decided, to pick up music mag uncut, im glad idid
some great bands but the last track was something special to me
i sat up and thought whts this,reminds me of neil young, just great guitar
it also reminds of the byrds, gram parsons the stones, what can i sy this is just
a wonderful cd,this is aCLASSIC piece of work.
what can i say just buy it now at this great price, you will not be disappointed
best 7pound ive spent this year could be my album of the year FAB
thank you amazon for saving me money
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on 9 March 2011
Phosphorescent write songs that are audibly nostalgic for the deep south and instantly evoke the timeless "road trip" vibe that has been prominent in so much American music. Mid-paced songs about sun, drugs and laziness make up the bulk of this album. Here's To Taking It Easy doesn't push any boundaries and won't enlighten you but will be a nice laid back summer record for your collection.
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on 8 January 2011
As a lover of americana/country music I purchased this CD on the strength of a local radio station nominating it as album of the year 2010. And what a revelation this album is. One of the finest west coast country-rock style albums i have heard in the last 10 years.Truly inspiring and worthy of 5 stars.
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on 3 September 2013
The main reason I wanted to buy the album is because of the track from the vow but I didn't really like the other songs! Sorry!
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on 8 July 2010
nether heard of this lot read a review somewhere raving about this album . boy they were right from start 2 finish now looking 4 more by them
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on 13 February 2011
A great album that has no bad tracks. If you don't already own this buy it. If you don't buy it steal it! If you steal it say sorry to Matthew and buy him a drink at the gig you will hopefully buy a ticket for (these are far more difficult to steal!).
Log on and have a listen yourself and tell me if I'm wrong!
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