Phosphorescent’s “Muchacho” is the kind of album that will take two listens to decide you hate it and then another three to realize how much you actually love it. It puts manufactured textures, built on electronic samples and ponderous canned beats, at direct odds with the more grounded aspects of Phosphorescent’s charms, namely the cracked, dusty croon of frontman Matthew Houck and his gift for celestial transcendence.
Ostensibly this is a country-blues album filtered through a warped funnel that touches on R&B, trip-hop, and folk. It’s a dizzying experiment forever teetering between the synthetic and the organic, and that tension is ultimately what makes it so visceral. If Gram Parsons were alive and making music on his laptop and still tripping on peyote, “Muchacho” would be his latest masterpiece.