Monday 10 December 2012

Phosphorescent - Song For Zula

The sheer volume of music produced and published every day is both a blessing and a curse. It means that, statistically, even scratching the surface of what's out there is impossible. But it also means that you might hear the latest song from an artist you'd never heard of before, then go on to investigate who this chap is, and suddenly discover a decade's worth of back-catalogue. At which point you naively ask yourself, "How have I managed to miss this for so long?".

Which is exactly what has just happened with the new song from Phosphorescent; the recording name of Alabama-born and Brooklyn-based musician Matthew Houck.

Taken from his seventh album 'Muchacho' (the fourth LP with label Dead Oceans) due for release in March next year, this first single hints at a departure from previous album 'Here's To Taking It Easy's more traditional folk/country sound. A simple but echoing bass and drum line gradually guide the song along its course, helped in no small part by a soaring violin that takes centre stage whenever Matthew's vocals take a moment of silence. Speaking of which, his delivery (often compared to the likes of Springsteen, Waits, Oldham and Petty) is pleasingly gravelly and relaxed while still focussed with every honest word. And it's this obvious openness of his lyrics, combined with the majestic instrumentation, that gives 'Song For Zula' a welcome hold on its listener... and is therefore responsible for me hitting the 'replay' button more times that I can possibly count.

"See, honey, I am not some broken thing
I do not lay here in the dark waiting for thee
No my heart is gold. My feet are light
And I am racing out on the desert plains all night"
(full lyrics:

"I don't have to compete in the charts. I can just be myself as a musician, a songwriter and play with the musicians that I really love." - Elton John

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