Matthew Houck may operate out of the too-cool-for-school, New York City indie rock community, but the Alabama-born mastermind behind Phosphorescent has a muse that clearly resides in warmer climates. A breezy, classic rock-tinged collection of heartbreak road ballads nursed into existence on a steady diet of the Eagles and the Band, Here's to Taking It Easy, the first Phosphorescent release to rely on musicians other than Houck, plays like a lost piece of vinyl from the early '70s. Houck is a generous, earnest songsmith, and his tales of love on the rocks (“Tell Me Baby [Have You Had Enough]”), love lost (“Heaven, Sittin’ Down”), and love of the South (“It's Hard to Be Humble [When You're From Alabama]”) feel lived in and cared for. Even on autopilot (the slight “I Don’t Care If There’s Cursing” and the hippy-drippy “Hej, Me I’m Light”), his effortless, laid-back version of modern alt-country feels like an old friend, and the weepy, sun-drenched reverb that permeates the whole affair feels authentic rather than coerced out of a Pro Tools plug-in. The only downfall is that Here's to Taking It Easy is so easy to take that at only nine songs, it flies by in no time at all.
Here's to Taking It Easy Review
by James Christopher Monger