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The Kickback: Youth Lagoon

Andrew Gastelum | Thursday, March 21, 2013


Youth Lagoon’s “Wondrous Bughouse dropped March 5, but I still find something new in every listen (currently on my 10th on Spotify). Lead man Trevor Powers adds layers on layers of delicate, swirling synths and muffled audio that makes lo-fi what it is today. 

Combine The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” with Sufjan Stevens’ “Illinois” and you essentially arrive at the pleasant oddity of “Wondrous Bughouse.”

It’s upbeat without being poppy and incredibly different without being too strange. Powers delves into the dilemmas of the universe in his sophomore album and its introspective look into the human psyche succeeds in the same way his first album “The Year of Hibernation” does, but just on a grander scale.

“The Year of Hibernation” remains one of my favorite albums ever and is a must-listen, as Powers gently – and often inadvertently – tosses you into the world of anguish and empathy from the acoustics of his dorm bedroom at Boise State. 

“Wondrous Bughouse” is no “The Year of Hibernation.” It lacks the simplicity and stark sincerity, but maybe that is also where it thrives. It adds a whole other dimension with layered complexity and bubbly harmonies to go along with Powers’ humming, calming tones. 

If an album listen doesn’t suit you, be sure to check out “Raspberry Cane,” “Dropla” and “Daisyphobia.” The soothing melodies of these songs transport you to a dreamy state where the eyes close and imagination abounds. 

It may be weird, but sometimes weird is good because it keeps things interesting. And “Wondrous Bughouse” does just that.