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The Year of Hibernation by Youth Lagoon

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Reviewed on 5th February 2012.

 
 

The Year of Hibernation

By Youth Lagoon

Having dropped out of Boise State University, Idaho, Trevor Powers (aka Youth Lagoon) has released a record that simply oozes nostalgia. At only twenty-two years of age, the mature, multi-instrumentalist lays down muffled drones, placed neatly with warm, catchy hooks that instil a sense of positivity, on an otherwise bleak morning. What's to say The Year of Hibernation can't easily be placed alongside all the other semi-impressive lo-fi acts of 2011? For a start, lyrics. Instead of singing about the west-coast summer sun, or the desirable girl down the road, Powers instead takes on himself as the subject. A mix of self reflective, but strangely inspirational lyrics are communicated in an effortlessly poetic manner, asking of the songs to be more than just background mood setting.

Youth Lagoon first appeared on the radar earlier this year with the song July - a melancholic progression that leads to a powerful, multi-layered finish. Inevitably, the Pitchfork based community were eager to hear more. With the release of The Year of Hibernation, fans should not be let down; Powers is a master of building his musical ideas into something that has the power to astonish. Montana and 17 use delicate musical motifs accompanied by profound words that simply transform into a surge of electrifying, passionate energy. It's in moments like these that one begins to wonder how someone of such a young age seems to possess such wisdom and honesty. 'The year I worked on these songs was one of the most difficult of my life', remarks Powers on his triumph. The then-university student was undergoing counselling for relationship problems and erratic anxiety. The Youth Lagoon record was Powers' project during this time. This is perhaps why the audience feels as though they are listening to something very private, but also universal. For the once troubled young student, this record has doubtless been a cornerstone for his recovery, suggesting optimism for the future of Youth Lagoon.

It is hard to figure out what will follow The Year of Hibernation. As well-crafted as the eight songs are, the mood stays fairly static from start to finish. From opening track Posters to epic closing number The Hunt, the hopeful cries reoccur throughout. The album has been a therapeutic project, and now that the the project is finished, Youth Lagoon is fully-fledged. But surely that means Powers needs to find another completely different source of creative inspiration, and therefore will that result in a completely different sound? Who knows, but for the time being, the record, although undeniably fitting together as one conceptual track, works. The touring process will be relentless, the crowds will wail away with empathy and hope, and all in all it will grace the world. Once all that is over, can one begin to contemplate the future for this, still young, nimble individual who simply wrote a few tunes as a way of getting over the most traumatic period of his life.

 

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On 5th February 2012 at 21:36 Jimmy Horrigan wrote...

Really good review, Adam.

I really like this album too. For introspection I'd recommend "October's Road" by Balto and "Travelling Time" by Everyman of Parts, both released last year.

 
 
 

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