One-man freakfolk symphony bleeds elegant ballads for post-modern world
Phosphorescent’s sole official member, Matthew Houck, is as close to a painter as a musician can be. He spills worlds of oil and watercolor from his earthy sonic palette—fuzzy, droning, slo-rock soul with Otis Redding horn swells, drunken mariachi waltzes, and pedal steel cascading like the feathery hair of some sad-eyed princess time forgot. He adds tambourines that rattle like loose change, dabs of late-1800s west-of-the-Mississippi saloon piano, and swirling angelic choirs of grace and doom. Ghosts & Watermelons & Beer & Nowhere Roads, golden cantatas that ?utter into dreams without a whisper. Skin-warming sunshine, devoured hearts of the past, fields of glowing wheat harvested in the mind. Houck—all quivering, daydreamy vocals and scattershot charm—gives life to tiny universes in his music, some lasting an entire song-cycle, others living unnoticed between the beats and scattered string plucks, unfolding amidst the distant thunderclaps and drizzling winter rain.