With Pride, Phosphorescent’s Matthew Houck has taken his style of rambling, mystical, American folk music and distilled it into a softer, slower, and even more mystical package. In the process the pretty, mysterious and spiritual sides of Phosphorescent have been multiplied by a thousand. A parody of Pride would be someone singing about lions and wolves in vaguely religious terms and then sighing a melodic “ah-oh-oh-ah” for at least 10 minutes, possibly joined by people making animal noises in the background. In some basic sense that’s what Pride consists of, but instead of ridiculous it feels transcendent, like a breaking-through to a new plateau. Houck’s harmonizing with a chorus of friends throughout is stunning. His lyrics are oblique yet confessional, like a fantasy tale that also has the capability to bring you to tears. Melodies repeat to the extent that they reveal new facets. Minimalist folk music is played like a Zen drone, and mood-wise everything is cast with a glow. It’s a remarkable achievement that elevates Houck’s status as an artist with the ability to cast spells.
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