Phosphorescent - C’est La Vie

76

Pitchfork

For his first album in five years, Matthew Houck puts fatherhood and a move to Nashville to good use on songs that are sly and wry and allow his voice to cut through intricate arrangements.

Wed Oct 10 07:00:00 CEST 2018

60

The Guardian

(Dead Oceans)

“I was drunk for a decade,” sings Matthew Houck on These Rocks, a lilting country lullaby about laying down self-imposed burdens. For a decade and a half now, Houck has been recording as Phosphorescent, running the gamut of Americana’s ever-broadening expanse, from eccentric alt-folk to upbeat stompers (even to a Willie Nelson tribute album). His last record, 2013’s Muchacho, was a high born of hard living and hard touring: during its making, he told Pitchfork, he’d “lost the place, lost the girl, and lost my mind”. Five years on, he’s built himself a new studio in Nashville, found new love and had two children. Though life has its shadows still (the motorik psych-country epic Round the Horn, the vocoder lament Christmas Down Under), the core of C’est La Vie is radiant happiness, Houck’s familiar sounds buffed to a transcendent shine: New Birth in New England is snappy and jubilant with an irresistible hook, My Beautiful Boy melting with liquid pedal steel and pure delight. On the title track, with its contentedly chugging organ, Houck happily forswears extremes: “I don’t write all night burning holes up to heaven no more.” And yet, it seems, he’s closer to bliss than ever.

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Sun Oct 07 09:00:06 CEST 2018