Review | Youth Lagoon - Wondrous Bughouse


[T]here I was at the desk putting together my latest Music Savage post when I suddenly found myself daydreaming. The sky was electric blue out my window and the birds were melting off the tree branches into hyperkinetic puddles of swirling color, while the squirrels danced around wearing leaves like tutus.  When I snapped back to reality, almost an hour later, I realized that I had simply been listening to the brand new Youth Lagoon album Wondrous Bughouse.

Trevor Powers unleashed his sophomore album last week via Fat Possum Records, his label since releasing the debut Youth Lagoon album The Year in Hibernation back in 2011. It should be no surprise to fans that Powers has stayed true to the hypnotic experiment of sound that has come to define a Youth Lagoon recording, and with Wondrous Bughouse he delivers up the fantastical trance rock in glorious fashion.

The listener is immediately thrust into the void with the opening track “Through Mind and Back” a musical journey into one’s subconscious. Please keep hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times as we head to the second track “Mute,” which could be described as the most straightforward electro-rock song on the album until about a minute in when the tempo changes as if to remind us not to drift to far off. It would be hard to describe each individual track on Wondrous Bughouse without using up all the standard issue descriptive elements used to write about experimental music, but honestly they all seem to fit. Powers’ ability to take sound and transform it into something immediately accessible, yet slightly unnerving, is worthy of all the adjectives available in the rock dictionary.

The album’s single “Dropla” (listen above) and it’s chorus of “You’ll never die/You’ll never die/You’ll never die” set to a musical array of instruments on steroids could have been a Sgt. Pepper’s outtake, while “Third Dystopia” dials up the psychedelia hotline. All the best attributes found in the progressive scene are mixed in with the perfect smattering of guitars and keyboards and delivered to your ears in fuzzed-out fashion. The Wondrous Bughouse ride ends with the blissful “Daisyphobia,” gently bringing you back to a state of full consciousness. Please make sure you have all of your belongings as you exit the vehicle.

Youth Lagoon is currently on tour now. Check the dates and check your head at the door.

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