Boomkat Product Review:
Well here's something a bit special. Pride is actually the third album by one-man-band Phosphorescent (aka Matthew Houck), and far-removed from any run-of-the-mill approach to the singer-songwriter format, this is a record filled with multitracked atmosphere, a wealth of vocal texture and harmony. The music here achieves a bewitching, ethereal sound without Houck having to strive for it in an overt, Grouper-like fashion. This wraith-ish quality is what distinguishes Phosphorescent from any contemporaries: you can hear every creaking floorboard on 'Be Dark Night', every gesture by Houck's multitracked self. It's like there's twenty different versions of him standing in the room all at once (think Michael Keaton Multiplicity) without the piece ever coming across as overloaded or overwrought. On 'Wolves' when Houck bemoans "Mama, there's wolves in the house", he sounds like a world-weary Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and slowly an orchestra of harmonium, ukulele and roomy percussion sounds up around him. Apparently, somewhere in there you'll hear an ensemble of guest vocalists, including Jana Hunter, but the song belongs to Houck's evocative performance. The haunted Phosphorescent recording studio really comes to life on the spine-tingling 'Cocaine Lights', a composition about post-drug, post-break-up comedowns, delivered with a gospel-like zeal: "Lord, truly I am awake" intones Houck, before ascending into a canyon-sized choral finale. It's rare to come across an artist with such a singular, distinct voice as Houck's, and he's clearly deserving of much success, but you can only hope that wherever his career might take him he holds onto that same solitary, split-personality mode of delivery. Excellent.