Phosphorescent - Muchacho
Critic Score
Based on 18 reviews
2013 Ratings: #184 / 1023
Year End Rank: #32
User Score
Based on 243 ratings
2013 Ratings: #55
Liked by 1 person
March 19, 2013 / Release Date
LP / Format
Dead Oceans / Label
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Muchacho recapitulates that moment of love’s collapse and catapults out into the companionable lonesome that waits. 

A.V. Club

Muchacho is also Houck’s most accomplished release to date—his most heartrending and life-affirming, equal parts lost-love devastation and hip-swaying, horn-led exultation.


On Muchacho, Houck gathers together everything he's attempted-- beery, rollicking country-rock, haunted tribal hymnals, regret-soaked bar room heartbreak-- and fashions it into something close to a defining statement.

Beats Per Minute

It’s rare to find a lyricist so honest and a vocalist so earnest, and when put into song it seems to Houck as if every word is vital and cathartic and necessary. 


When the uplifting tones of the closing Sun’s Arising roll around, it’s impossible not to believe that Matthew Houck has created his finest work yet.

Under The Radar

No matter what happens to Phosphorescent from here on out, Muchacho is an artist setting a new standard.

Consequence of Sound

Muchacho is a well balanced listen, one that finds Houck adding new hues to old canvases and striking gold at every turn.

The 405

This stark honesty is much of the appeal of Muchacho, a record that finds that some things might be past fixing, but always comfortable in the knowledge that there's another sunrise on the way. 

No Ripcord

There probably aren’t enough moments that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, but after the initial struggle to get into, it’s a rewarding record to return to.


'Muchacho' is a strikingly personal album, the sound of a man recollecting and realising what he’s lost and how he can find it again.


Where Pride took solitude and rendered it universal through sheer expanse and force of will, Muchacho sometimes confuses the personal with the insular.

Remember listing to this a bunch with someone I'd met just before the album came out. That woman has now been my wife for the past 4 years come November.

I haven't listened to this in a long while, but I have it on now and its sounding rather great. Glad the new one came out and inspired me to re-listen.

Perhaps its that I'm more into americana now then I was back in 2013, but this thing has aged well. The second half might not be as strong as the first, but this is getting added back into ... read more
Was thinking this album was mostly a one-hit wonder, but it's really fucking good
A tale told through the cinematic storytelling of Matthew Houck. As I go back and revisit some well claimed albums of the years, I'm struck with both regret, for not having listened to this before, and with frustration for Muchacho not being more talked about today. I'm sure that'll be a common theme among the albums I go back to listen to today. This honest, vulnerable work just needs to be heard. It's a chillingly gorgeous album that's a deep slice of Americana.
Such a good album. "Song for Zula" was a SOTY contender for me, but the rest of the album is really strong as well. Not quite folk, not quite indie rock, but definitely elements of both, and fans of either genre should enjoy this. A super compelling and beautiful set of songs.
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Track List

  1. Sun, Arise! (An Invocation, An Introduction)
  2. Song for Zula
  3. Ride On/Right On
  4. Terror in the Canyons (The Wounded Master)
  5. A Charm/A Blade
  6. Muchacho's Tune
  7. A New Anhedonia
  8. The Quotidian Beasts
  9. Down to Go
  10. Sun's Arising (A Koan, An Exit)
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Added on: December 10, 2012