Phosphorescent

Record review

Austin Imprints

Phosphorescent

Aw Come Aw Wry (Misra)

Poets rarely show their faces. Will Oldham, Elliott Smith, Will Sheff have all stuck their necks out, and it may well be time to add Matthew Houck to that list. With his Athens, Ga., outfit Phosphorescent, Houck's fragile voice cracks with angst of the heart on the group's sophomore release, Aw Come Aw Wry, their first on Austin's Misra label. That introspection turns into extreme exclamations of joy as Phosphorescent's heavenly trumpets blare and funereal strings scream. Opening with the defensive "Not a Heel," Houck clears the path for the downtrodden and misunderstood with the simple tinkling of the piano and acoustic strumming. As the strings and horns rear up, so he does in album highlight "Joe Tex, These Goddam Taming Blues," pulling tears out of the harshest desert ducts. Hopeful ("I Am a Full Grown Man," "South (of America)") and disheartened ("Dead Heart," "Endless Pt. 1"), Aw Come Aw Wry is genuine truth. Even as the first raindrops fall on 20-minute field recording and closer "Nowhere Road, Georgia, February 21, 2005," Houck's candor shines. Another true American poet is born. Take note.

****

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