A Hundred Times or More

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Phosphorescent's debut, A Hundred Times or More, is a collection of drowsy and melancholy neo-folk that will happily please fans of Grandaddy and Earlimart. Matthew Houck's charming croon is surprisingly close to Jason Lytle's iconic whine, and he has a similar gift for words: take the line "a long time is what forever is" on the rambling, glimmering opener, "Salt & Blues," for example. Athens, GA's Houck has the restlessness of Dylan, the home-recording vibe of Miighty Flashlight, and the at times dark, at times golden Southern narratives of Will Oldham and Papa M, but his compositions -- like "Where to Strip" -- are stretched into a dreamy slo-fi state like Neil Halstead revisiting his old band Slowdive. Houck received heaps of praise in England for his old one-man folk outfit Fillup Shack. And though the London Evening Standard's claim that "he may prove to be the most significant American in his field since Kurt Cobain," may have been a bit premature, Phosphorescent's A Hundred Times or More -- though difficult, is clearly one of the best indie folk records of 2003, from the syrupy-bittersweet, Billy Corgan-worthy bombast of "Bullet" to the beautifully forlorn (and Bright Eyes-esque) "How Far We All Come Away."

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