9. Phosphorescent – Here’s To Taking It Easy
Dead Oceans

I wish this road we were taking wasn’t made for breaking down
I wish these nights of pleasure and these days of pain weren’t so tightly bound
And I wish I was in heaven sitting down.

– Heaven, Sittin’ Down

Phosphorescent’s main man Matthew Houck had hit a creative dead end in 2009. After a couple of acclaimed indie albums on the super cool Dead Oceans label, he couldn’t figure out what to do next. To pass the time he released “To Willie”, a collection of Willie Nelson covers. That laid back country groove would be the heart and soul of his next album, this year’s wonderful Here’s To Taking It Easy.

And laid back it is. Slide guitars, sing-alongs and a deep southern boogie infuse these tracks with sleepy feel. It’s the kind of record that sounds best when outside, with friends, with beers. It’s not mopey either. Like the title suggests, it’s a celebration of relaxation.

At nine tracks, and little variation of pace, it might seem a bit slight. But the melodies and choruses stick. I don’t know what a Mermaid Parade is, but the loping sadness of that song, and that image, hangs around. There is something going on with those two most rock ‘n’ roll of themes – girls (Tell Me Baby Have You Had Enough) and escape (Heaven, Sittin’ Down).

In the end though, it’s just a fun, laid back, country-ish album – in a year when there were very few good ones. One listen to I Don’t Care If There’s Cursing, with it’s slide guitars and relaxed drawl is enough to draw me in. It’s somewhere between the Jayhawks and Creedence, and it’s a somewhere I usually love.

The album did very well for them, and hopefully it kicks them up to the next level. And lets hope they don’t get too excited about all the attention that they forget to take it easy.

Best Tracks: The Mermaid Parade, It’s Hard To Be Humble (When You’re From Alabama), I Don’t Care If There’s Cursing

MySpace – Phosphorescent

The clip for It’s Hard To Be Humble (When You’re From Alabama)

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