Here's To Taking It Easy


Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. If you dig songs with twang, Here's to Taking It Easy is as tuneful and affecting a set of them as you're likely to come across.
  2. All of Houck's southern eccentricities remain gloriously intact, from his eloquently hangdog vocals to his minimalist songwriting on "Hej, Me I'm Light."
  3. Newfound confidence pours from the song and out onto the others.
  4. Here's to Taking It Easy is a great record, but I feel like Houck's best is still in him-- the one where the deep roots of tradition will finally be inextricably fused with his own weird, shambling soul.
  5. 82
    Here's to Taking It Easy rests in the lines between love and heartache, celebration and mourning-and all of it is draped in a muted, silo-high production that cuts the hard edges off the record's darker moments.
  6. Try it out, it's definitely worth it, just not anything you'll be rushing to your guitar to emulate. Or maybe it is, if you're in to taking it easy.
  7. Under The Radar
    Houck can finally take it easy with the knowledge that he's made his best record. [Spring 2010, p.65]
  8. Uncut
    Here's To Taking it Easy is a bold record steeped in the golden, rich sounds of classic rock and country. [Jun 2910, p.101]
  9. Phosphorescent's contribution to the new-folk cannon is an impressive and rather lovely addition.
  10. Mojo
    Even playing it straight, Houck produces songs that skitter round your peripheral vision, hide in the back of your mind, their outlaw mental state playing hide-and-seek behind the classic rock curtains. [June 2010, p. 90]
  11. The closing Los Angeles works as the perfect summary of an album that constantly mixes tragedy with beauty, but ends with hope.
  12. Q Magazine
    The vibe remians woebegone but with the combination of lush arrangements and gallows wit add layers of transcendence previously only hinted at. [Jun 2010, p.131]
  13. It's a rootsy album that is delivered faithfully and respectfully, but one where the strong, clear voice of its author cuts through powerfully.
  14. Here's To Taking It Easy stands as a triumphant proclamation of Phosphorescent's ongoing ability to provide quality heartbreaking Americana.
  15. Where previous Phosphorescent albums burned like embers, this new album cracks wide open with rolling piano, blasts of horns, twangy electric guitar, and washes of pedal steel. It's a direct album made from and for the road.
  16. Here's to Taking It Easy is a fine debut of sorts for Phosphorescent as a band. To Willie was the preamble to this, the band's new direction. And good as Houck was as a singer-songwriter, "band leader" is a role that suits him just as well.
  17. Although he may be used to working with more components now than just his voice and guitar, Houck refuses to let that extra instrumentation muddle his sound, instead allowing just enough space for all the parts to coexist effortlessly together.
  18. Admittedly, no track on Taking It Easy proves as woefully intimate as the ukulele and accordion lament of Pride's "Wolves," but "The Mermaid Parade" somehow rings just as true for all its simplicity.
  19. Yet his voice still ambles all around the beat, and the production is calculatedly bleary, with horns, guitars and piano all entangled, as if two or three bands are playing the same song. Phosphorescent's perpetually woozy aesthetic is intact.
  20. The only downfall is that Here's to Taking It Easy is so easy to take that at only nine songs, it flies by in no time at all.
  21. While this is the most accessible Phosphorescent album, Houck's flair for musical surrealism is still very much on hand.
  22. There's no particular deficiency, but the new approach pushes the Brooklyn-based Athens, Georgia, band closer to the middle of the road than ever before.
  23. There's just so many country records being made, each a replica of another, that in moving away from Phosphorescent's original sound, much of Here's To Taking It Easy has found itself dangerously subscribing to banal convention.
  24. You might feel like you've heard some of Here's to Taking It Easy before, but Houck is skillful enough that you probably won't mind hearing it again.
  25. Forsaking subtly Southern melancholy in favor of jangling, twanging hillbilly heartbreak, Here's to Taking It Easy misplaces amplified country fever instead of channeling it.
User Score

No user score yet- Awaiting 1 more rating

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Mar 16, 2012
    A lovely album. I guess it could be classed as Americana or Alternative Country. Although I'm not a fan of either of those genres, I do reallyA lovely album. I guess it could be classed as Americana or Alternative Country. Although I'm not a fan of either of those genres, I do really like this record. The lyrics are great, the tunes are excellent and it has a very consistent feel to it throughout. The records creates an atmosphere that really takes you away and I could see myself listening to this while sitting on a back porch of a house somewhere in the American Deep South overlooking a swamp. That's probably not what Matthew Houck was going for with this record but that what it for me and I like it. It's hard to pick a stand out track as it's all pretty good stuff. The Mermaid Parade is probably my favourite track on this, closely followed by Los Angeles. Full Review »