The first words Matthew Houck sings on the seventh Phosphorescent album are “I rode all night,” on top of a chord pattern borrowed from the triumphant sax climax of Thunder Road. Are we in for peak Bossdom here? No: the chords of C’est La Vie No 2 are played on layers of keyboards and acoustic guitar, and there’s no triumphalism. It’s one of a couple of places on C’est La Vie where one is put in mind of another artist trading under a group name who has filtered heartland rock through the mindset of psychedelically inclined indie: Adam Granduciel. Around the Horn – eight minutes of melodic motorik, with huge surges of uplift – is even more War on Drugs-esque, but it would be wrong to assume Houck is trailing in anyone’s slipstream.
Where 2013’s breakthrough Muchacho had come from a period of unrest and unhappiness, C’est La Vie is the result of being settled and stable, relocated from Brooklyn to Nashville (though, paradoxically, the pedal steel that was so prominent last time round has barely survived the move to country’s hometown). The contentment is evident: Houck sings about parenthood in My Beautiful Boy, though it’s not unduly mawkish, and the whole record feels like a rebalancing.Continue reading...
Fri Oct 05 11:30:07 CEST 2018