Alternative band Phosphorescent’s new album, “Here’s to Taking It Easy,” released May 11, pays homage to old-school country-rock. Phosphorescent’s sole member, Matthew Houck, combines the laid-back sounds of his native Georgia with New York City’s indie influences.
Phosphorescent won praise for its folk-pop sound, when Houck released his original album, “Pride,” in 2007. Notably, Houck recorded a tribute album to country legend Willie Nelson in 2009 called “To Willie” that showcased both his vocal prowess and creativity.
“It’s Hard to Be Humble (When You’re From Alabama),” the opening track of “Here’s to Taking it Easy,” is an upbeat, fun song that announces the album’s departure from Houck’s standard forlorn, haunting, predominantly vocal songs. Houck uses blaring trumpet lines and guitar riffs reminiscent of music from the 60s and 70s.
The indie hit “The Mermaid Parade” tells the story of a young man wandering around Coney Island after a broken marriage. This standout song has gloomy lyrics, but the melody is positive enough to keep the song on repeat.
“Hej, Me I’m Light,” a masterfully mixed track, incorporates reverb and a shadowy background chorus. While not a standout piece, this song deserves praise for its poignant melody.
The album’s nine songs live up to its name — all are easygoing with infectious melodies that capture both the mind and the heart. Matthew Houck deserves critical acclaim for his latest masterpiece.