Matthew Houck crafts loping, art-damaged country tunes under the banner of Phosphorescent
. His sweetly ragged voice can be a deal-breaker, but the band's arrangements mix pedal steel and Salvation Army horn charts, a supple bed for Houck's wails and whispers. Last year's Aw Come Aw Wry
was an overstuffed affair, with three versions of the title track (which is just Houck and company wailing those four words over varying backgrounds) and an eighteen-minute closing number filled with thunderstorms and highway soundscapes. Yet somewhere in the middle of this lack of restraint and pretension, Phosphorescent happened upon a beautiful cross-section of singer-songwriter desperation and broke-down alt-country blues.