Trevor Powers’ first album as Youth Lagoon wasn’t really recorded in a bedroom. Still, it was written in one. And there’s a candid familiarity to 2011’s The Year of Hibernation that would be hard to replicate. “Dropla,” the first song to emerge from sophomore LP Wondrous Bughouse (out March 5 via Fat Possum), doesn’t so much leave the bedroom as it does levitate above the floor, no doubt covered with rumpled laundry.
Just as “Montana” wasn’t actually about the Big Sky state, “Dropla” probably isn’t about the, uh, province in northeastern Bulgaria. The familiar elements of Youth Lagoon’s great, too-short debut are still here — Powers’ reedy vocals flicker in and out of focus, wobbly keyboards float beneath it all, and the overall emotional wallop is more than the sum of each distinguishable part — but the scale is grander now. “You’ll never die,” Powers repeats on the six-minute track, which harks back to some of the psych-pop influences on MGMT’s last album but manages to come across as not contrary, but rather, welcoming.
The lyrical theme lines up with Powers’ previous comments about how part of what makes life great is its temporariness, but he hasn’t just pulled the unfortunate singer-songwriter trick of shifting from a first album rich with personal experience to a second album bloated with generalities. “You weren’t there when I needed,” Powers declares at an especially cathartic moment. The last two minutes make up an angelic instrumental segment, bringing to mind the bit at the end of Blur’s “Coffee and TV”: an afterlife, maybe? Great records outlive us all.
Youth Lagoon 2013 tour dates:
February 25 – Spokane, WA @ A Club
February 26 – Missoula, MT @ Badlander
February 27 – Bozeman, MT @ Filling Station
February 28 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
March 1 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
June 5 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center *
* = w/ The National