musicians often head to new york - it's a familiar story. but something magical happened when matthew houck picked up stakes halfway through making his new phosphorescent record, pride, and moved to brooklyn from athens, georgia. 'pride' is something different. here, houck channels something mystical and haunting, offering up a dark, meditative set of songs that is all the more spiritual-sounding for its restrained tone. on previous albums, he's recruited guest musicians to fill the gaps, but on pride, houck has only enlisted the services of a makeshift choir, otherwise recording every instrument himself. his achingly cerebral delivery recalls arthur russell, but honestly, 'pride' sounds like nothing else we've ever heard. these are poems uttered in an empty field, punctuated by shouts and hollers, as if from a singer either abandoned or possessed. the lyrics are houck's strongest ever, wrapped in washed out choral etudes that could be channeled from a rural french chapel or a solemn african tribe in prayer. 'pride' sounds like it was made by a man set free. in fact, 'pride' sounds broken free of time and place altogether. yet still it is warm, familiar, and welcoming-a record to call home. phosphorescent has released two albums and an ep of haunting, epic and triumphant songs already but his first for dead oceans is far and away his finest work, sustaining a bittersweet, organic vibe throughout.