Thursday, November 10, 2011

Album Review: Youth Lagoon-The Year of Hibernation

I was beyond excited about The Year of Hibernation. After being exposed to the tear jerking beauty of "Montana" (more on that song in a second), I jumped on my computer as quickly as possible to pre-order it. When The Year of Hibernation finally arrived, I tour into the packaging as quickly as possible and threw it on my turntable. As the album began to engulf me I noticed something old. For some reason there were no lyrics to be found anywhere within the packaging, surprising due to Youth Lagoon's Trevor Powers' singing style leads to an obscured sense to what is being sung. Normally this isn't a problem for me; as the large connoisseur of lo-fi pop it's just another wonderful quality and characteristic. But I did something out of character. I jumped on my computer, found all the lyrics, and compiled my own personal lyric book to accompany my listening of the album.

That I feel speaks volumes about the music we are dealing with here. In a time when it takes monumental effort to just listen to 4 song EP all the way through, to be willing (me at least) to want to engage with every aspect of the music is saying something. In this case, how utterly emotionally beautiful this album is. I know that is probably the biggest thing whenever Youth Lagoon is brought up, but that's because of how good they are at it. I think that's mostly to their ability to sidestep nostalgia in the traditional sense, and the way a lot of modern bands trigger it. This is an album completely built around keys and synth, possibly the most used instrument in modern indie music, yet manages to be so much more original with it than others. This is especially true in the way all the songs build to big, cinematic endings. From the moment "Posters" evolves from simple piano tinkering toward beat blasts and perfectly placed guitar work, it's obvious The Year of Hibernation is bigger than just the eight songs contained would have you think. By the time the album reaches it's climax with "Montana", a song so powerful and beyond words that morphs from haunting piano lines toward thunderous piano lines that sound like Powers' might wind up destroying his instrument, the entire magic of the album has sunk in.

Equal parts beautiful and dark, The Year of Hibernation is one the best records, never mind debuts, of the the year. It's subtly majestic in all the right ways, quite when it needs to be, and loud and bombastic when it needs to be as well. It engulf your body for 35 minutes once it starts, and lasts for days after. And you will appreciate every moment of it.

(mp3) Youth Lagoon-Cannons
(mp3) Youth Lagoon-July
(mp3) Youth Lagoon-Montana


Youth Lagoon's Blog
Buy The Year of Hibernation here, from Fat Possum Records

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