For his sophomore album, “Wondrous Bughouse,” Youth Lagoon, also known as Trevor Powers, isn’t pulling any punches. Inspired by “where the spiritual meets the physical world,” the record takes the listener on a journey, in and out and up and around a musical interpretation of a metaphysical reality.
Many of the tracks on “Wondrous Bughouse” use lo-fi and distortion effects to create a murky, fluid atmosphere, allowing normally more divisive elements to flow more easily into one another. “Sleep Paralysis” moves from a very dreamy, lullaby-esque sequence to a heavier, more indie pop sound and then back to the original energy. While the track is a bit chaotic and disorganized, the consistent lo-fi style acts as a foundation, making the chaos seem more purposeful, more organic.
For as experimental and psychedelic as his music can be, Youth Lagoon incorporates more traditional thematic aspects into many tracks to help ground the listener. “Dropla” layers sci-fi, echoing effects with relatively lucid vocals and a catchy chorus—the repetition of “You’ll never die” is both infectious and disarming. The zany, festive background of “Attic Doctor” is oddly familiar and nostalgic, like listening in on the outer space version of a circus.
“Wondrous Bughouse” has a bit of a playful side, offsetting what could be overly somber instrumentation with more festive, concrete allusions. “Pelican Man,” a boisterous, poppy ditty that wouldn’t be out of place at a bonfire on the beach, is one of the more upbeat tracks on the album. The closing track, “Daisyphobia” could be the future of piano-driven lounge music—in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic lounge, of course. Youth Lagoon has created a complex, developed world that he deftly and charmingly guides his listeners through.