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Album Review
Youth Lagoon - The Year of Hibernation Album Cover

Youth Lagoon - The Year of Hibernation

Reviewed by
8.8
Youth LagoonThe Year of Hibernation
Record Label: Fat Possum Records
Release Date: September 27, 2011
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
The appeal of making bedroom pop music isn’t difficult to understand. Kid turns off the video games, writes a song using some sort of computer and feels better. Someone smarter and funnier than me always says, “We should all be so lucky as to find something that makes us happy.” If tinkering around with vocal distortion, keyboards, loops and completely introspective lyricism is what does it for you, keep doing it. Hell, all I do in my bedroom is write crap like this. But at least it’s (sometimes) about gold like this.

I guess what is so appealing, to me at least, about Trevor Powers and his Youth Lagoon project, is how believable it all is. This is just some fucking kid from Idaho (much like Arrange is just some fucking kid from Florida). And I don’t mean that in any derogatory way whatsoever, despite my callous and idiotic usage of the F-word. What I mean is that when you listen to the far-off then jittery electro treat “Posters,” and hear lines like, “When I was nine years old / I had a poster…/ I knew what I wanted to be / Never was the same,” it’s trite and childlike and not all that complex. Sure. What it is, in fact, is everything we wish we could say. But instead we spend too much time obsessing over what our words might be perceived to mean; Powers connects because he isn’t trying to. I’m speaking for him like a dickhead, but The Year of Hibernation would be just as successful if nobody ever heard it. At least for him.

There’s been a lot of talk about “July,” and for good reason. It perhaps most efficiently sums up what Youth Lagoon do. Childlike tinkering on a piano is bolstered by simple bass pumps and Powers’ ethereal siren call. "Holding my guitar, I strummed a tune / I sang, ‘I love you but I have to cut you loose,’” sings Powers while the song builds atop guitar strums and an increasingly frantic yelp. It’s catchy in a way you can’t define, because why do you even need to? It’s hard-hitting in a way that only leaves a mark once you’ve stopped listening. “July” isn’t so much a song as it is a mission statement. And, I suppose if forced to say, that statement is nothing more than: here is my life in the form I like to remember it.

So The Year of Hibernation literally flows by. “Daydream” is basic electronic music, fittingly, with lines like, “So I’ll daydream about you and think happy thoughts.” And there’s “Montana,” with its handclaps and washed-out vocal climax – clearly the most exciting thing to happen to the state in probably forever. But The Year of Hibernation isn’t really a song record. To me, it’s clearly more interested in mood and ambiance. It sits us down and asks us to forget how we were feeling, or what we were thinking, and just get lost.

Which isn’t to say that this is mindless. I’d make the case that this music is so heavily pored over (an obvious trademark of the bedroom musician, what with their, we assume, infinite alone time) that Youth Lagoon will never reproduce anything like The Year of Hibernation. I think in 2011, this is called The Bon Iver Effect. The result of fame is that Powers will never be in this place again. But maybe that’s best. Maybe, when an album so heavily deals in nostalgia, it’s healthier for everyone involved to make new memories. We can sit forever with our backs to the future. But just because we can’t see what’s coming doesn’t mean it’s not on its way. (Groundbreaking stuff, I know.) So when Powers inevitably moves on, he will hopefully take us with him. When his next journey begins, ours can too.


Recommended If You Like: Arrange, Atlas Sound, (maybe) Mansions, Galaxie 500


Rent bikeshttp://soundcloud.com/youth-lagoon
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 37
06:02 AM on 10/26/11
#2
cwhit412
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Oh damn, Malcom gettin' so big he's RIYL worthy.
07:17 AM on 10/26/11
#3
AdamChildress
Wondrous Oblivion.
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Such a good album =D
07:23 AM on 10/26/11
#4
nickstetina
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I've been listening the shit out of this album. One element about this record that is most impressive to me is that I can put it on when I'm in a good mood and it will enhance it. But, I can also put it on when I'm feeling like a self loathing sack of shit, and it embellishes that too. Not many albums can play ball both ways so well.
07:27 AM on 10/26/11
#5
Blake Solomon
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I've been listening the shit out of this album. One element about this record that is most impressive to me is that I can put it on when I'm in a good mood and it will enhance it. But, I can also put it on when I'm feeling like a self loathing sack of shit, and it embellishes that too. Not many albums can play ball both ways so well.
i agree with this statement completely.
07:36 AM on 10/26/11
#6
blinkme
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Love this album. Great review, Blake.
08:09 AM on 10/26/11
#7
Jack Torrance
What's in Room 237?
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Easily in my top ten of the year. It's a really beautiful album and I basically said much of the same in my review. Nice job, blake. I'm excited to see him live next month.

Edit: also, don't know if you guys will do this on the new site, but you should consider embedding at least one mp3 from the album at the end of the review. Fuck riyl - just give the readers a song. My two cents.
08:12 AM on 10/26/11
#8
uglystar03
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This is just some fucking kid from Idaho.

Some fucking kid from Idaho, indeed. I think the fact that people outside of Idaho have heard this album will always freak me out.
09:20 AM on 10/26/11
#9
Co and Ca
What are you doing here?
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this album rules.
10:35 AM on 10/26/11
Greg.Kushlan
Ghostbusting makes me feel good
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One of the girls I work with knows Trevor, and keeps telling me to listen to this. I'll probably give it a listen eventually.
11:02 AM on 10/26/11
nickstetina
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i agree with this statement completely.
Any other albums off the top of your head that have the same affect on you? For me Mansions 'Dig Up the Dead', Stars 'Set Yourself on Fire', Bon Iver 'Bon Iver' and Cassino 'Kingprince' come to mind, though I know there are more.
11:45 AM on 10/26/11
Blake Solomon
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One of the girls I work with knows Trevor, and keeps telling me to listen to this. I'll probably give it a listen eventually.
it really is something special
11:48 AM on 10/26/11
Jack Torrance
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Any other albums off the top of your head that have the same affect on you? For me Mansions 'Dig Up the Dead', Stars 'Set Yourself on Fire', Bon Iver 'Bon Iver' and Cassino 'Kingprince' come to mind, though I know there are more.

Both albums by The Antlers.
Balam Acab.
Woods - sun and shade
pure x - pleasure
anything by jj
12:50 PM on 10/26/11
gjpinizz
Life With People
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best review i've read on this site in a while. makes me want to like this album
12:52 PM on 10/26/11
JamieTheSonger
05 Fuck Em
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Is his bandcamp broken?

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