Release Date: Sep 27, 2011
Record label: Fat Possum
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Dream Pop, Noise Pop, Neo-Psychedelia
There are a few things we've come to expect from recent, home-recorded indie pop: thin production, lyrics that reference childhood and nostalgia, a vibe of hushed intimacy, lots of reverb. Youth Lagoon, the project of 22-year-old Boise, Idaho, musician Trevor Powers, ticks all of those boxes and sounds immediately familiar the first time you put it on. "Posters", the opening track on his debut LP, The Year of Hibernation, even starts with a warbly synth to evoke the fabled VHS glow that has become a touchstone for kids of his generation.
Bedroom pop benefits most from the portability and quality possible from modern technology. Its intimacy is also made for the close listening of headphones; there’s a real connection possible that other genres are either not capable of or have no interest in. Straining to make out the lyrics of Trevor Powers on his full-length Youth Lagoon debut ties the listener closely to Powers and his yearning vocals while revealing The Year of Hibernation’s many, many pleasures.
Trevor Powers' debut as Youth Lagoon, The Year of Hibernation, provides the missing link between bedroom-pop contemporaries like Small Black and Perfume Genius and the bittersweet psychedelia of Mercury Rev and the Flaming Lips. Barely into his twenties when he recorded these songs, Powers' fragile vocals -- which sound uncannily like those of Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous -- nevertheless remain strong whether he’s surrounded by gentle swells of synth, as on the album-opening “Posters,” or mountains of sound, as on the lovely single “Cannons. ” What makes The Year of Hibernation notable, however, is the vulnerability and empathy that radiate from every song.
The Year of Hibernation certainly has the right ingredients to be a successful indie pop release: instantly enjoyable melodies and an approach that lets the music breathe — and that’s just the beginning. With vocals in this dream pop-lifted style (though perhaps lifted is the wrong term, as it implies a sort of negative aspect), there are two dominant approaches used. The first: Load up on guitars, synthesizers, and other sorts of noise to complement the reverb-laden vocals, and don’t let up much throughout (this might be best described as the My Bloody Valentine method).
Trevor Powers, the 22-year-old guy behind Youth Lagoon, pulls off a pretty clever trick with The Year of Hibernation. It feels, at first, like a breezy record. The gauzy layers of keys and guitar, those spacious drum-machine beats, Powers’ keening vocals with their sense of wonder (something like a more tuneful Daniel Johnston), it all sounds sweet, downright wistful.
Youth Lagoon has crafted one charming debut with The Year of Hibernation. In interviews, 22-year-old Trevor Powers has stated that his intent with this moniker is to craft honest music. By revealing his own struggle with anxiety through effervescent pop laden with piano and reverb, Powers succeeds. His bedroom project soars well beyond four walls, with a sound so vast it seems more than what one man could make.
Melancholic lo-fi magic from a young musician finding his way with touching results. Mike Diver 2011 In the summer of 2010 a young man from Seattle, Mike Hadreas, released a debut album under the Perfume Genius moniker which knocked this writer off his feet. Utterly naked of emotion, with lyrics set to aching swells of distorted lo-fi indie-cum-electronica, it was a striking collection that showcased not a talent with potential, but one that’d been forced to mature before its time.
Trevor Powers of Youth Lagoon is 22. Many reviews have led with this fact since it’s really amazing when someone so young can exhibit such mastery. Powers can conjure rhythms, harmonies, melodies and weave them into an incredibly dense arrangement. And he’s also dealing with some mature themes on The Year Of Hibernation, out now on Fat Possum.