Tuesday, 31 January 2012

YOUTH LAGOON - THE YEAR OF HIBERNATION - MY TAKE

Hey everyone, hope you're managing to wade through this tough month. I suspect I'm not the only one taking a financial and psychological kicking. Anyway, let's talk about music.

There has been a resurgence in lo-fi style 'bedroom' pop over the last couple of years and today from that genre, I'm going to talk about my favourite album of the 2011 calendar year. Youth Lagoon is the stage name of a rather talented American musician called Trevor Powers. The Year Of Hibernation gives us an insight into his life, in a stripped to the core, emotional journey.

In early 2011 fans were granted an early insight to The Year Of Hibernation with the track 'July'. It generated quite a buzz, with praise even being received from the much loved (and much hated) Pitchfork. The track itself is gentle journey of quiet keyboard chords and angelic ah's before the identity of the song and the album  presents itself. A brilliantly simple, effective 4 chord piano part emerges from the mist over a simplistic bass heartbeat. The vocal verses arrive and the heartfelt lyrics are delivered in a sublime fashion. YL sounds like child sat in the corner crying his eyes out as he sings 'I made a bridge between us then I slowly burned it, Five years ago in my backyard I sang love away, Little did I know that real love had not quite yet found me' I realise that sounds like a derogatory comment but believe me it isn't. The delivery is so incredibly honest, and touching.

The album is decorated with similar moments of pure emotion, that above all, are completely believable. In 'Seventeen' he sings 'When I was 17 my mother said to me, never stop imagining, the day that you do is the day that you die'  and 'Posters' recalls an even earlier age 'When I was only nine years old, I had a poster, and with that alone I had the education, the motivation, I knew what I wanted to be'. Finally in For a first release of a young man, The Year Of Hibernation is remarkably strong in terms of lyrical prowess. I don't think there's a single throwaway line.

Daydream, Posters, and The Hunt all have great simple guitar riffs, written in a textural style to help embody the songs, rather than a more prominent solo over the top fashion. As well as this, there is never a sense of self-indulgence or over-production. Sometimes it can't be easy to truly know when a record or track is complete, but Trevor has escaped attraction of going back and fiddling any more than required.

It's so pleasing to hear someone who isn't an insanely good multi-instrumentalist convey such emotion into their work. This was not achieved by accident, the record itself is not chock full of producer's tricks and witchcraft, but interesting methods of recording experimentation. The vocals for example were recorded normally and left dry, then played through low quality speakers into a garage. Only with great mic placement re-recording the vocals were the final results achieved.  The friends who aided production did a fantastic job. The talent that Trevor has is a gift which I believe he will use to even greater effect in the future.


In short, the album is seriously good. It's by no means perfect, in my opinion there are some bland instrumental areas, but not many. It took me a few listens to let it get to me, but once it does you can feel every word.


Listen to: All 8 tracks

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

interesing post!

Sahar said...

Download the album from my blog:
http://flacrelease.blogspot.com/2012/01/youth-lagoon-year-of-hibernation-2011.html

Publius said...

I love this type of stuff

Anonymous said...

nice psot

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