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Madrid City in English
Friday 24th of November 2017
Matt Sachs 1304 1st of April 2013 by editor 1st of April 2013
Youth Lagoon - Wondrous Bughouse

Matt Sachs reviews the band's latest album, released on the Fat Possum label

How much insight and perspective on the world would one expect from a 23 year old from Idaho? If the sophomore album by Boise-based Youth Lagoon—the stage name for the prodigical Trevor Powers—is any indication, the answer is quite a lot. Since 2010, Powers has been making dreamy psychedelic music through which he explores themes well beyond his years. On his debut album, Year of Hibernation, he travelled inward in an attempt to map his own mental psyche. On Wondrous Bughouse, Powers turns his attention outward, focusing instead on the astonishing and mystifying nature of the universe. The result is a collection of songs that continuously change in form and structure in a way that seems to embody the simultaneous joy, terror and sheer awe of life. “Dropla” makes for a happy-go-lucky tune that turns nightmarish as Powers repeatedly chants “You’ll never die” before it morphs back into its original carefree refrain. “Mute” begins with grand simplicity and a glacial pace before a duet of squeaking clarinets cuts through the suspended fuzz of bass-heavy reverb and gives the song a heart-throbbing turn, only to change in the final moments with an unresolved solo piano. The penultimate number, “Raspberry Cane”, while arguably the most accessible, sounds like an Oasis track on acid, traversing through a range of musical motifs and emotions. On Wondrous Bughouse as a whole, Youth Lagoon follow a similar trajectory to other solo artists who began in their bedrooms, trading in a confined, intimate sound for one much grander and covering it all with a thick coating of reverb. What separates Powers from the pack is his penchant for never allowing his songs to get too comfortable; he loads each new twist and turn with a melody more captivating than the one before.

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