Youth Lagoon is the work of 22 year old Trevor Powers, a multiple instrumental specialist in crafting a sound that will give you goosebumps. Take for example his song “July”, where it starts off quietly but soon becomes a fully fleshed out crescendo of sound that exceeds the limits of what a bedroom recording can hold. When interviewed by Pitchfork about Youth Lagoon being a solo project as opposed to a band, Trevor stated that “I write most of my songs in my bedroom, so I like that whole aspect of closing the door and making a song myself, trying to think of all the parts and putting it together…I just wanted to write honest songs. So much music nowadays is really shallow. There’s not much heart or emotion in it. Another thing is that I really don’t want to fit myself into a box. There’s a lot of subgenres right now, but I don’t want to peg myself as this or that.” If you listen to Youth Lagoon’s “Montana”, you’ll understand why Trevor expresses his disappointment at the state of music these days. “Montana” is one of those songs that openly wears its heart on its sleeve (and I say that in the best way possible). It opens with a piano playing in the background and then a spacey keyboard sound enters and interacts with the piano for the rest of the song. There is an essence of loneliness and longing that is immediately apparent within the first thirty seconds of the song. However, the song is so brilliantly constructed by Youth Lagoon that it refuses to remain in that somber state. Like the other songs of Youth Lagoon, the inevitable crescendo begins ( Handclaps! Handclaps!) but in this case the crescendo has a stronger emotional resonance. By the time the song is over, I realized that I couldn’t understand a single word that was sung (because of the distorting of the vocals) but I was perfectly content with that. Listening to this song is a cathartic experience. This is late-night music at its finest. I think that a review from the music blog OCMD (Obessive Compulsive Music Disorder) sums it quite nicely: “It [Montana] resonates with a beautiful loneliness. A kind of solitude that’s palpable. Like when you heard Bon Iver for the first time and could actually feel the isolation of the snowy winter Wisconsin cabin that he wrote the album in. That kind of sound.”
I wonder what if the emotions that are evoked from the song are similar to that of the emotions of those who are about to leave for college. I mean the first wave of people leaving for college has already begun, and it’s a damn sad event. I’m talking about people who will finally have to say that the town of Woodinville is apart of the past, not the present. While that may be seen as a great thing, I can’t help but point out that we’re all leaving our roots and setting forth onto a new direction in our lives. As for me, I wait until late September before I start at UW, and I kind of feel a bit left behind as everyone is moving out. Funny how music can help you articulate things you would have never been able to do in the first place.
The debut “The Year of Hibernation” will be released on September 27. You can download two tracks “Cannons” + “July” off of Youth Lagoon’s bandcamp. As for “Montana”? It’s only on soundcloud (for now). You can pre-order The Year Of Hibernation from the record label Fat Possum here, due out September 27th.