AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Album Review
Hint: Follow a reviewer to be notified when they post reviews.
Youth Lagoon - Wondrous Bughouse Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 9
Production 9
Creativity 9
Lasting Value 9
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 90%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.25
Musicianship 8.47
Lyrics 7.19
Production 8
Creativity 7.53
Lasting Value 7.22
Reviewer Tilt 7.38
Average: 76%
Inside AP.net

Youth Lagoon - Wondrous Bughouse

Reviewed by: Kelly Doherty (03/05/13)
Youth Lagoon - Wondrous Bughouse
Record Label: Fat Possum
Release Date: March 5, 2013


It’s difficult to come across music that can be beautifully accessible whilst remaining challenging and eclectic at the same time. When one does have the luck to discover such sounds, they’re probably not created by a kid sitting in his bedroom with an unhealthy interest in synthesizers and an arsenal of delicate lyrics. However, Trevor Powers, a.k.a Youth Lagoon, isn’t one for sticking to the rules. His debut album Year Of Hibernation hit the music loving world out of nowhere. Filled with pulsing beats, delicacy and bags of youthful earnestness and sweetness, the record was greeted by high praise from fans and critics alike, all delighted that, finally, a young musician armed with synthesizers was also graced with integrity and ability, as well as style. So, with those ten tracks, we were all able to live a life that felt a little better, a little sweeter and whole lot more dreamier. Two years later, Youth Lagoon has returned with Wondrous Bughouse. He’s delivered to us ten more tracks of psychedelia tinged dream pop, which will guide us calmly into the summer days, and soundtrack the spring nights.

Listening to Wondrous Bughouse is more of an experience rather than anything else. Songs on the album aren’t individual tracks, they’re passageways from one end of the album to the next. The broken melodies, gentle keyboards and delicate, childlike vocals utilised throughout the vast majority of the record make Wondrous Bughouse into a journey through a broken fairground in a much simpler, less developed world. The deliberate, ringing notes and slow paced ambiance of opening track “Through Mind And Back” manifest themselves like the first tentative steps through this alternative universe. No vocals are utilized, but none are needed, the track is like an engine starting up; it’s the sound of Wondrous Bughouse’s various ingredients falling into place. This quietness leads up to the sugary sweet burst of “Mute", probably the most accessible track of the release. Starting off with Powers’ soft vocals, referring to “Looking in a 3D world/ Where the crowd is in control”, the track explodes into a sensory overload with sounds emitting from all sorts of synth, keyboard, strange samples and basically whatever Powers could get his hands on. If the entrance to the fairground was slow before this, “Mute” immerses the listener entirely in this strange other world, whilst blocking out whatever may be happening in the real world.

It’s at this point that Wondrous Bughouse explodes into a psychedelic sonic experiment. “Attic Doctor”, “The Bath” and “Pelican Man” all carry the album forward with a hazy spattering of sounds and Powers’ ever delicate vocals. “Attic Doctor” actually involves samples of what sounds like old fashioned fairground music, whilst “Pelican Man”’s spiraling melody is the sound of insanity captured on tape. The lyrics “It’s not true/ It’s all in your head”, send the listener even further into this feeling. Whilst the sweetness of “Mute” seemed truly pure, by the middle of the record, the relentless upbeat sounds have gained a sinister edge with a constant wall of sound filling up every second of the album. It’s incredible how Powers’ songwriting ability transcends the simplicity of whether or not he’s writing catchy melodies or displaying musical accuracy, he writes emotions and atmospheres with only a few notes or samples, much in the way a movie or a book can. He’s not just a songwriter, but a creator of other worlds filled with equal measures beauty and insanity.

The latter half of the album is more grounded than the first five tracks. “Dropla” and “Sleep Paralysis” have very melodic sides to them which mean they could be as individual singles without suffering, however they still fit perfectly with the idea of the fairground. Both tracks are truly theatrical and sound completely massive. “Raspberry Cane” rises the album from the darkness that the music had descended into with its upbeat simplicity and pleasant vocals. The album closes out with “Daisyphobia”, a wonderful swirling track, that dives back into the ambient territory of the opener. Mixing together the ragtime samples and soft electronics that have permeated each track, it closes out the album on a calm, but sinister end. And with that, the journey is complete.

Wondrous Bughouse is... wonderful. It’s an resoundingly interesting album as a piece of art, before you even listen to it as music. Youth Lagoon has utilized everything available to a band of their genre, sounds that one would never expect from a modern indie album. The empty fairground music, the nursery rhyme melodies and the ragtime excerpts combine with Powers’ childish vocal performance to create an album that is akin to a Victorian child’s broken toy. It’s incredibly imaginative and I can only imagine Powers’ brain is a slightly terrifying, if colorful, place to visit. By and large, Wondrous Bughouse avoids all of the trap-falls that could have landed within Youth Lagoon’s sophomore album. It was difficult to imagine how he could expand his sound from such an impressive debut, without releasing Year Of Hibernation Part Two. However, this is a very different album. It holds very little in common with anything, never mind his debut.

Overall, Wondrous Bughouse is a beautiful, experimental album that never forgets that above all, music is an art form and is meant to be experience as is film, art, or literature. Youth Lagoon has succeeded in creating an album that blurs the lines between art and music, and Wondrous Bughouse could be the album that makes his career. Absolutely fantastic.

Recommended If You LikeWild Nothing; WU LYF; weird music that's pretty


Additional InformationTrack Listing
1. Through Mind And Back
2. Mute
3. Attic Doctor
4. The Bath
5. Pelican Man
6. Dropla
7. Sleep Paralysis
8. Third Dystopia
9. Raspberry Cane
10. Daisyphobia

Band Members
Trevor Powers

9/10

Twitter
Facebook
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 22.
05:51 AM on 03/06/13
#2
uglystar03
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
uglystar03's Avatar
Boise, ID represent! I'm not the biggest fan of Trevor, but it's great that someone/something from Boise is getting recognition!
07:03 AM on 03/06/13
#3
Chris Collum
No dumbass dove in my dumbass brain
Offline
User Info.
Chris Collum's Avatar
08:18 AM on 03/06/13
#4
xtbs7645x
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
xtbs7645x's Avatar
really great album, has a bit of a MGMT-esque feel imo. Attic Doctor is amazing :)
08:37 AM on 03/06/13
#5
COREhorizon
Get Free
Offline
User Info.
COREhorizon's Avatar
Not really for me. I can't just sit and appreciate this album unless I'm tripping on acid or some shit.
08:46 AM on 03/06/13
#6
xtbs7645x
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
xtbs7645x's Avatar
Not really for me. I can't just sit and appreciate this album unless I'm tripping on acid or some shit.
you have to be on drugs to enjoy psychedelic music? thats a shame.
09:26 AM on 03/06/13
#7
gr33ndayfr3ak
www.nickferran.com
Offline
User Info.
gr33ndayfr3ak's Avatar
Definitely one of the best albums of this year so far. And it gets better every time I listen to it.
01:10 PM on 03/06/13
#8
Co and Ca
What are you doing here?
Offline
User Info.
Co and Ca's Avatar
it's wild nothing, not wild nothings :)
01:21 PM on 03/06/13
#9
COREhorizon
Get Free
Offline
User Info.
COREhorizon's Avatar
you have to be on drugs to enjoy psychedelic music? thats a shame.

Normally, no. But this one's way too weird
06:10 PM on 03/06/13
Chris Collum
No dumbass dove in my dumbass brain
Offline
User Info.
Chris Collum's Avatar
This is a fantastic record, I love it so much. Definitely a big step up from the debut, which I thought was good but not great.

Very good review Kelly, well done!
08:05 PM on 03/06/13
Bschris
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
Boise, ID represent! I'm not the biggest fan of Trevor, but it's great that someone/something from Boise is getting recognition!
You know Newman it's interesting, the year of hibernation kind of fell into my lap as I'm not usually interested in this type of music and it has really grown on me. When castanelli played with youth lagoon I really gained a ton of respect of Trevor and what he can do as he was quite entertaining live. This album from what I've heard hasn't grown on me yet. I still find it a damn shame that people discovered YL but somehow never discover the other Boise bands we both are fans of or have been fans of in the past, but anyhow kudos to Trevor hopefully he'll bring some attention to our "scene"
08:10 PM on 03/06/13
Chris Collum
No dumbass dove in my dumbass brain
Offline
User Info.
Chris Collum's Avatar
Boise, ID represent! I'm not the biggest fan of Trevor, but it's great that someone/something from Boise is getting recognition!
Only two artists I know from Boise are YL and Built to Spill, so y'all are 2/2 in a very big way in my book.
08:15 PM on 03/06/13
Bschris
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
Only two artists I know from Boise are YL and Built to Spill, so y'all are 2/2 in a very big way in my book.
Yeah built to spill is obviously our most well known band and now YL but seriously check out Marshall Poole, ditch tiger, hotel Chelsea, raid, little miss and the no names, the Paris funds, house of hoi polloi, Darin rene, sheep among wolves, etc
08:18 PM on 03/06/13
Chris Collum
No dumbass dove in my dumbass brain
Offline
User Info.
Chris Collum's Avatar
Yeah built to spill is obviously our most well known band and now YL but seriously check out Marshall Poole, ditch tiger, hotel Chelsea, raid, little miss and the no names, the Paris funds, house of hoi polloi, Darin rene, sheep among wolves, etc
Got any album recs to give a listen to?
08:32 PM on 03/06/13
Blake Solomon
Leave a one-way note.
Offline
User Info.
Blake Solomon's Avatar
idk, this one hasn't hit me like the other one. need some more time with it for sure.
Options
More From This Author
Buy the Music

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Submit News
CONNECT
Forums
Contests
RSS
Mobile Version
Banners, Flyers, Widgets
HIDDEN TREASURES
Free Music
Video News
Sports Forum
AP.net Related News
Recommendations
INFORMATION
FAQ
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook
PropertyOfZack
PunkNews.org
UnderTheGun
Chorus.fm