Those familiar with the music of Matthew Houck, aka Phosphorescent, won’t be surprised by the title of his first batch of original songs since 2007’s exemplary Pride. They may, however, be thrown slightly off guard by the opening track; a rollicking, horn-led ode to Alabama. But Houck hasn’t completely forsaken the lazy, introspective Americana that earned him comparisons to Will Oldham and Neil Young. It’s more like he’s got half a cheek slouched on the couch, the other attempting a drunken waltz on his porch – case in point: penultimate track, Heaven Sitting Down.
Here’s To Taking It Easy is more buoyant than almost anything Houck’s released before, but the highlights occur when he reverts to type, like on the meditative Hej, Me I’m Light and album highlight and closer, Los Angeles. Ultimately, Here’s to Taking it Easy struggles for an identity: unsure whether it should embrace the light or slump down into the melodious murk once again.
Written for The Skinny