There are a couple of things one can expect from the growing genre of indie-pop home-recording, among them low production values, shoddy vocals, a good amount of reverb and lyrics of halcyon days in the past.
Youth Lagoon, the bedroom project of Boise, Idaho’s 22-year-old Trevor Powers takes all the greatness of this intimacy, places it in a toy box of sounds and melancholy, then shakes in just the right mixture of childhood nostalgia.
His debut album “The Year of Hibernation” perfectly describes its overriding theme: Each track contains a story of how one becomes who they are through occasional hiding, then exploring of the world, then hiding again. The immediate appeal of each song, detailing such themes as heartbreak on the Fourth of July in the song “July,” is that it is instantly relatable to anyone who has felt heartbreak, alienation or ambivalence as to their relationship with the external world.
Powers seems to be a scientist of sorts, messing with concoctions of warbled synthesizers, slow-building intros to their swelling conclusions. Many of the environments he picked as recording locations are intimate and secluded, and the album should be listened to that way. With its room-filling sounds and style, “Afternoon” is the album’s stick-out song that demands closed doors and loud speakers.
Powers has discovered a new element on the periodic table of home-recording, but it won’t win him the Nobel Prize. He seems to have his own say when it comes to the genre, but he has not done anything too radical. The album is simple and beautiful – not perfect, but great. This album should bring him great recognition with the coming months and anticipation for what he might invent in the future. 4 stars.