originally published on emusic.com.
Cribbing a line from the Man in Black, Phosphorescent’s Matthew Houck sings of those that “say love is a burning thing.” Whatever that feeling was that Cash knew so well, Houck has never felt it. For him, love’s been “fading,” “fickle,” “a cage [that] calls.” These are old bruises. Houck’s laid them bare in past recordings, playing the gutted bluesman, shambling ghost and beer-soaked crooner. Never has the music played such a majestic counter-point, though. Houck may sing how sick of love he is on “Song for Zula,” but the music betrays him.