Sarah Rose de Villiers |
A musical journal of sun-blinded nostalgia and enchanted optimism, The Year of Hibernation is the dreamy work of Youth Lagoon, aka 22 year-old Trevor Powers of Idaho. The debut album showcases his irrefutable talent for crafting a musical dreamscape at the crossroads of lo-fi and chill wave.
Tucked up in his modest bedroom, struggling with extreme psychological dysphoria and awkward emotions, Powers started writing songs. “Not just songs about my anxiety, but about my past and my present. Songs about memories, about all those feelings that these bring. I know if I can be honest about what is in my mind, there will be others that will be able to relate to it,” said Powers.
The result: haunting melodies that bloom from soft murmurings and piano tinkering into echo-laden arrangements of distorted guitars, marching drums and a voice of quiet wonder. The gentle synth and delicate humming swell in a hallucinatory build up, shifting around the beat until exploding in an emotional catharsis.
All the while Power’s fragile voice calls as if trapped in an underwater music box. Doused in reverb and buried in distorted haze, his lyrics are so effortlessly beautiful it seems they have always existed to be whispered to winter sunbeams and fall through empty skies.
The album’s complex instrumentals, profound lyrics and reverb-drenched melodies transcend Powers’ modest bedroom studio and transport listeners to the ethereal dreamscape of childhood.
Produced by Fat Possum Records, the Oxford-based label that released The Black Keys’ album Thickness, Youth Lagoon sounds like Bon Iver with a synthesizer, Beach Fossils on a lazy Sunday and Rural Alberta Advantage sprinkled with reverb.
Tracks like ‘July’, ‘Cannons’ and ‘Afternoon’ are laced with musical interludes, crescendos of passion and infectious whistling melodies that promise to both captivate and delight. A starkly intimate album, Powers cried when recording the keys for ‘The Hunt’ and, with charming honesty, shares personal philosophies in ‘17’:
When I was 17 my mother said to me, ‘Don’t stop imagining, the day that you do is the day that you die.’
The Year of Hibernation’s 42:20 minutes of soft secrets and pulsing rhythms will undoubtedly hypnotise, reflect and transport dreamers alike.
- Don’t miss Youth Lagoon’s new album: Wondrous Bughouse.
- Catch Youth Lagoon at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Paris this November.
- Youth Lagoon’s interview about ‘Daisyphobia’, the art of a teenage drug-abuse patient and Nirvana.
- Youth Lagoon enchants crowd with dreamy set
- On Tour: Youth Lagoon is in San Francisco.