Phosphorescent

Phosphorescent

Phosphorescent

The Weight of Flight

WARM

When Matthew Houck first visited England in 2000, on the heels of his debut album (recorded as Fillup Shack), the London Evening Standard, in an oft-repeated hyperbole, suggested that Houck “may prove to be the most significant American in his field since Kurt Cobain.” Others merely settled for the somewhat overused “the new Dylan.” This, at a time when London was practically overflowing with young, American singer/songwriters wearing their hearts on their sleeves. Now, the British music media has never been afraid to cry out about the next big thing, but still, the Standard‘s outcry seems a bit premature in retrospect. Not least considering the fact that Houck himself has long since outdone his early efforts as Fillup Shack.

Last year’s debut album (as Phosphorescent), was a much more well-rounded and overall interesting affair than his Fillup Shack debut, and this year’s EP, The Weight of Flight, again ups the ante, proving that Houck grows more eloquent with each passing release. The influences of Will Oldham and Jeff Mangum are still strong, but now Houck sounds even more similar to another much-heralded young talent, namely Bright Eyes, albeit a more country-fied version.

But it’s not fair to reduce Houck to a mere product of his influences: he’s too versatile to pass off as some accidental byproduct, and he carries this versatility with the ability to mold his musical eclecticism into one single whole.

What marks The Weight of Flight off from his previous releases is that it’s more rock-influenced, sounding more like a real band playing together, as on the wonderful, elegiac “Not Right, You Know” and the gospel-tinged “When We Fall.” It’s a sound that suits Houck’s compositions perfectly, both more exciting and energetic than his former one-man-and-his-guitar persona. His take on the Willie Nelson staple “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” demonstrates his genuine understanding and respect of country music, while the quiet “Mrs. Juliette Low” is reminiscent of a naturalized Sparklehorse.

It remains to be seen whether Houck can carry this vision even further on his upcoming full-length album, but as for now, this is a remarkable achievement from a young artist who never stops to amaze with his versatility, musical craft and the sheer beauty of the music he makes.

WARM: www.thewarmsupercomputer.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band
    Preservation Hall Jazz Band

    So It Is (Legacy). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017
    From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017

    For the twelfth year, the South East European Film Festival (SEEfest) in Los Angeles showcased an impressive lineup of new features and shorts. Lily and Generoso Fierro provide a festival wrap up and their picks for the films that you cannot miss.

  • Justin Townes Earle
    Justin Townes Earle

    Kids In The Street (New West Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Christian Scott
    Christian Scott

    Rebel Ruler (Ropeadope / Stretch Music). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Kivanç Sezer
    Kivanç Sezer

    Turkish director Kivanç Sezer’s powerful debut feature, My Father’s Wings, puts the spotlight on the workplace safety crisis that is currently taking place in his homeland. Lily and Generoso Fierro spoke with Sezer at SEEFest 2017 about his film and his need to draw attention to this issue.

  • Temples
    Temples

    Supporting their just-released sophomore record, UK synth-pop poster boys, Temples, attracted an SRO crowd to one of Orlando’s premier nightspots.

  • Rat Film
    Rat Film

    Baltimore. Rats. A match made in Maryland.

  • Bishop Briggs
    Bishop Briggs

    Bishop Briggs brings a stacked bill of up and comers to Orlando for a sold-out party at The Social. Jen Cray joins in the fun.

  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World
    Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

    There’s more than black music influencing the evolution of Rock and Roll. Native American rhymes and ideas are every bit as significant, once you know to look for them.

  • Keith Morris
    Keith Morris

    Ink 19 slings a few questions to the punk rock pioneer Keith Morris on Trump, Calexit and looking back.

From the Archives