Phosphorescent Aw Come Aw Wry

When kingpin Matthew Houck’s voice cracks on opener "Not A Heel,” you know that Phosphorescent aren’t your average mopey alt-country influenced project. Driven by Houck’s uncompromising vision, some songs on Aw Come Aw Wry are wonderfully original and compelling, while others sometimes have the feeling of "failed experiment” about them. Houck’s voice, as blemished and unprofessional as it sounds, is one of the best elements in this record, as each missed note, crack and mumble sucks the listener into Houck’s musical word. The track "Dead Heart” shows this spectacularly as the songs starts simply with a spare guitar and drums over Houck’s bare vocals, but then blooms to include sweeter harmonies — from better vocalists — and a swishing atmosphere, thus bringing the song to life. Another highlight is "Lost Name,” in that its combination of song and clashing narration provide for one of Houck’s most interesting visions. Some fall flat, though, as both parts of "Endless” live up to the name as the sighing choir surrounded in complete silence becomes old very fast. Let’s not mention the 15-minute recording of cars on a highway, either. In the end, Phosphorescent’s Aw Come Aw Wry defines itself through one thing: Matthew Houck and the skewed and haunting ears in which he hears the world. (Misra)