Phosphorescent Muchacho

There's a calm confidence throughout Muchacho, the sixth full-length from Phosphorescent and fourth on Dead Oceans. Matthew Houck (the man behind the Phosphorescent moniker) isn't afraid to spread his wings and let his loose Americana vibe move towards uncharted waters. Houck displays his maturity in his sense of restraint; he could've easily taken artistic liberties with Muchacho, allowing his evident desire to push the boundaries of Americana turn into an indistinguishable ball of fuzz. And with the four tracks on Muchacho clocking in at over five minutes, he certainly comes close. Houck reins in "Song for Zula," abruptly ending the hazy swoon, and the staying power of Muchacho becomes evident — for as much as the ten tracks bend and weave, you can't help but want a little more. "Ride On/Right On" serves as a window into Houck's evolving conscience as a songwriter; the drum loop verges on incessant, as does the constant repetition. "A New Anhedonia" showcases Houck's softer, melodic charm, bridging the gap between lullaby and Kurt Vile-esque territory. Much like Vile's work, Muchacho is a record that thrives on the context it's played in. A raucous centrepiece it is not. A soundtrack for a nightcap alone though? Absolutely. And, in that respect, when introspection is at a premium, Houck's become something of a master. (Dead Oceans)