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Trevor Powers, the Boise-based multi-instrumentalist who dream pop-ifies his diary entries into songs as Youth Lagoon, is twenty-two years old. His age is only relevant because his grasp of melody is far beyond his years––he writes songs as timeless and effortless as though they had always existed––but his music simultaneously bears a refreshing, electrifying newness. Powers’ first record as Youth Lagoon is called The Year of Hibernation, which is on one hand rather erroneous a title for such a considered body of work and on the other a perfect match for his bright, nostalgic musical dreamscapes, somewhere at crossroads of lo-fi and chillwave, all fuzzy guitar riffs intertwined with electronic percussion and synth arpeggios.
The product is a sound as intimate as it is expansive, transcendent of Powers’ bedroom studio but never quite forgetting its humble beginnings. Powers’ singing is heavily processed and buried in enough distorted haze that it sounds like he’s calling to you from the other end of the tunnel, but his voice is so tender and fragile that every word is loaded with a confessional quality, a soft secret, a disarming honesty. His instrumentals are complex and varied; soft piano notes seem to bloom into harsher, driving guitar chords you could easily cut out of Youth Lagoon and into the repertoire of punk-influenced lo-fi bands like Cloud Nothings.
With The Year of Hibernation, Powers establishes Youth Lagoon as an innovative new voice in dream pop. His ability to directly tap his emotion and nostalgia into unique, considered, and beautiful music that’s at once sublimely cathartic, intimately confessional, and effortlessly catchy is truly stunning. – Pretty Much Amazing