Bedroom pop-makers are not hard to come by in the high-speed internet age. Never has there been a more direct route to processing and broadcasting heartache from your machines to the world. Some of these transmissions are like mediocre teenage poetry, but not all. I’ve yet to see a better case for breaking out of the bedroom than Boise Idaho’s Youth Lagoon.
Youth Lagoon is the musical project of Trevor Powers, a pretty killer name in itself. Powers posted a few songs on his Bandcamp page earlier this year. From this to a critically endeared and impressively varied album in a matter of months seems a little jarring. But Powers had been tinkering with these songs for much longer as a way to combat what he calls intense anxiety issues. Once standout “July” rounded blogs, things were already in motion. Powers dropped out of Boise State to pursue music full time, released a full album and booked his first ever national tour dates.
With Youth Lagoon, there is plenty of reverb and layered vocals. You can picture Powers doing the vocals with his eyes closed. But his songs don’t feel like they were made by one guy at home. Nearly every track from Youth Lagoon’s The Year Of Hibernation is a slow-build. The beginnings are subdued and introverted, but by the end they reach towering, near clap-along momentum. To be cheesy: it’s like a shy kid afraid to sing eventually finding his voice and really wailing on it. “Montana” certainly contains this ride from subtle to epic. Especially after taking in its Tyler T. Williams’ directed Tree of Life-like video a few times, the song feels cinema-huge. Powers’ voice crescendos as much as the music does. It’s nice to see him at work. This five-minute studio version of “July” will leave you baffled this was all put together by one (still very young) man.