Psychological dysphoria: the state of feeling unwell or unhappy. That’s what Youth Lagoon’s 2011 debut album spoke to. Why? Because Trevor Powers needed an outlet for the thoughts in his head that he couldn’t quite explain. Whatever darkness consumed his mind certainly made for good music, even if listeners don’t understand where he’s coming from. The Year of Hibernation doesn’t exactly make you feel unhappy, but it does remind you of that halfway state between sleep and awake, which can be slightly distressing.
As for his sophomore album, Wondrous Bughouse, that dropped this March? That explores the line between the physical and metaphysical universes; the paradox of fearing and embracing human mortality. Compared to his first, this album feels more stable — perhaps due to the fact that Powers abandoned the lo-fi quality of recording in his home to an actual studio . The layers of sound are more prominent and the vocals, that before were meek and timid, are more reassured.
The 22-year-old creates music that is, for the most part, incomparable to any other artist. There’s a psychedelic influence that maybe reflects a bit of the Beatles or Yeasayer, but ultimately, Youth Lagoon is unrivaled.
For the sake of great music, let’s hope Powers doesn’t defeat all of his demons any time soon.
[Youth Lagoon performs from 8:30 to 9:45 pm on Friday, May 24th on the Yeti stage.]