- good experimental instrumentation
- fun melodies
- lack of focus
- pelican man
This is an album that, while musically and lyrically interesting, can’t seem to get any focus. Psychedelic indie pop, or whatever you want to call out, generally has two sides. There’s the darker, ambient approach that allows for us to drift off in thought as we ponder the metaphysical and our place in the world. Then there’s the fun, whimsical side that does the opposite (see MGMT – Congratulations). Youth Lagoon attempts to mesh the two, succeeding at some times, and getting lost in his own experimentation at others. I actually like the album a lot; I think certain songs have a fantastic balance between expansionary ambience and smooth melody, but others seem whimsical and weak in comparison. Trevor Powers also changes the way he sings track-by-track, not necessarily a bad thing but in this case I think it distracts from the (generally) good music that makes up the songs. So the album succeeds in that it is an interesting experiment that delves into the weird crossroads of light-hearted and darkly-shaded psychedelic music, but it doesn’t bring anything catchy or truly essential to the table.
Impression: An interesting listen and a fun experiment that doesn’t seem to prove its own hypothesis, at least at first listen
alex h’s review
Not having been a huge fan of Youth Lagoon before this album, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The opening song put me in a weird mood; it’s a collection of atmospheric sounds mixed with random samples to create a very mellow, expansive track. After listening to that first song, “Through Mind and Back”, I was not too excited about the rest – if it had kept that pace throughout the album, I would have undoubtedly fallen asleep. However, that was not the case. Youth Lagoon, aka Trevor Powers, picks up the tempo in the rest of the album without abandoning that atmospheric/experimental/pseudo-psychadelic sound that seems to be his defining quality. As far as quality goes, I like it. Don’t let the opening track deter you – Mr. Powers has created a very good album that’s not too repetitive, has pretty good accompanying vocals, and is different than much of what you hear today.
Impression: Although Youth Lagoon doesn’t blow me away, he still puts out solid music for a second album. I’m excited about his future.
alex s’ review
It takes a very skilled artist to make a Lo-Fi album that you can listen to from start to finish without needed to take a break. Going by that definition, this makes Youth Lagoon a very skilled artist and his album Wondrous Bughouse manages to draw you in and set an atmosphere of psychedelic Lo-Fi sound. When things are getting a little too slow, he adds in a song like Mute that speeds things up and draws you right back into the atmosphere he’s trying to create. His voice has a unique intriguing sound that only sounds better when he adds a bit of vocal distortion and effects. Furthermore, the way he layers a variety of instruments and sounds keep you interested and waiting to hear more. I loved this quirky, psychedelic album and can’t wait to hear more from Youth Lagoon.
Impression: Youth Lagoon obviously knows what niche his music belongs to and makes a great album to fit into it. It’s easy and enjoying to listen to.