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Youth Lagoon’s Trevor Powers Returns With “Playwright”

It’s been two years since Trevor Powers hung up the idiosyncratic bedroom-pop project Youth Lagoon, but it feels like longer. Powers all but disappeared after announcing the end of his previous act in February 2016, “bringing down the curtain” and vanishing from social media just months after the release of a third album, Savage Hill Ballroom. But this week we learned the 29-year-old Powers is ready to try something new: A successor musical project under his own name, which debuts today with a new single and video titled “Playwright,” as well as a handwritten note about the state of mind that prompted his premature retirement and eventual return. He’s also allegedly launching a label called Baby Halo; no further details on that yet.

“I ended Youth Lagoon because it became a mental dungeon, + I was its captive,” Powers writes in his note. “My intention was never to keep it going —only to serve as a nod to the blooming years. It’s been said the worst prisons are the ones we build for ourselves/the barriers, the rules, + regulations that we choose to live by out of fear of the unknown because we think it’s what we’re supposed to do. But now I feel freed. This project is the beginning of something new; not the continuation of something old.”

“Playwright” opens with chilly plucked strings and a painstaking arrangement of samples that give the song an almost Björkian quality, but within a couple of minutes Powers begin to tease out some eerie yet familiar strains of psychedelic pop. The new song comes with a ghostly underwater video featuring members of professional synchronized swimming troupe Aqualillies; watch and listen to “Playwright” and read Powers’s full note to fans below.