Thursday, 29 September 2011

Youth Lagoon - The Year Of Hibernation

The Year of Hibernation is a fitting title for this, Youth Lagoon’s debut release. It implies rest and calm. It’s also suggestive of someone storing, withholding that which they have collected until they are ready to release themselves, renewed and revitalised. The Year Of Hibernation is masterful record, each track imbued with a slow-building power reminiscent of The National. This drive is even more astonishing considering that Youth Lagoon is a lone 22 year old Boise, Idaho native by the name of Trevor Powers.

The album is only 8 tracks in length, but this never gives a feeling of incompletion to proceedings. The record is shrouded in a gloopy lo-fi fuzz that restrains the chest beating drum machine lines and snaking guitarwork until the moment is right and they are unleashed. Power’s tremulous falsetto becomes an instrument itself, chasing through the songs like a child with a torch, in awe of the world he can make with his mind.

Possibly the most startling aspect of the record is it’s sparseness. The layers of instruments give an overpowering effect but Powers never allows it to swamp the elements at it’s core. It is ostensibly a chest-beating, “it’s me and against the world and I don’t give a fuck” kind of record, but it’s rawness has been sweetened and contained. Any sense of delusion or indulgence has been purified out, leaving only proclamations that ring true and clear.
As an album, it’s a marvellous piece of work but as a debut, it’s nothing less than miraculous

By Ned Powley

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