Youth Lagoon - Wondrous Bughouse
Youth Lagoon aka Trevor Powers at only 22 was the precocious new kid on the indie block with 2011’s The Year of Hibernation. Though a strong debut, the album could get a bit precious as one would expect when listening to a 22-year-old’s debut indie pop album. But if The Year of Hibernation was sugary, Bughouse is coated with codeine syrup. It’s a woozy collection of psychedelic pop, as eccentric as it is rousing. “Mute” sprawls with epic grandeur in its first minute before breaking down into spiraling sounds of broken-down toys and keyboards. Powers’ vocals climb to the top of his manic creation, which gradually becomes a psych rocker with a gorgeous guitar solo. “Attic Door” is prime Syd Barrett in Wonderland weirdo psychedelia, while “Pelican Man” takes a similar notion to Sgt. Pepper’s-style pop heights. As Wondrous Bughouse progresses, it seems to grow more assured, as mid-album cut “Dropla” makes for the album’s catchiest moment — an eyes-wide-open pop song in the vein of Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips’ finest, built on the naÃ¯ve, repeated couplet “you’ll never die.” True to its Strawberry Alarm Clock title, “Raspberry Cane” is a beautiful slice of acidic sunshine pop that moves from esoteric to a crowd-pleasing refrain that marks Powers’ most classic pop moment to date. It’s a wondrous thing to hear, indeed.