AP Music Writer
Phosphorescent, "Muchacho" (Dead Oceans)
Matthew Houck's quest for a few moments of simplicity has led to his most complex album yet, a lush take on easygoing country flavored with a light ocean breeze.
"Muchacho" crystallized as Phosphorescent's only permanent member retreated to Mexico on a weeklong spur-of-the-moment trip to check out following a difficult period in his life. He returned to Brooklyn, N.Y., with the beating heart of his most accomplished album yet, full of sprawling arrangements with horns and keys and electronic adornments.
Yet Houck never loses his deft touch for the personal moment, like when he narrates a rough patch for the listener before warbling, "I'll fix myself up, come and be with you" over a dreamy organ line on "Muchacho's Tune." He heads in the opposite direction as he patiently layers on the textures in "The Quotidian Beasts" until he's got something that soars right on past the seven-minute mark.
There are little wonders all over "Muchacho," an album that hopefully will take Houck to a wider audience as popular musical tastes begin to turn his way.
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