Review Summary: Something about being bored in Montana, I think...
I've never been to Boise, ID, but a handful of preconceived notions and a perfunctory Google search yielding the headline of "Non-profit donates $10,000 toward Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline" have led me to believe that perhaps I'm not missing much. To my knowledge, the city of Boise is notorious as a place stuck between an archaic past and a bright future, with recent entrepreneurial generations putting their best foot forward in the attempt to tame the expansive Idaho landscape and to sprout an environmentally conscious city from the depths of Mother Nature's creative prowess. The money-minded city-slickers aren't the only ones leaving their mark on that staggering stretch of America, however. For as the townsfolk of the great Northwest get up and go about their quotidian affairs, something bigger than that, yet subtle as a snowflake descending slowly into Lake Tahoe, is coming to fruition beneath their very feet. Somewhere in a dark and damp Boise basement is Trevor Powers, the one-man force behind recently fabricated Youth Lagoon, endeavoring to bridge the daunting gap between past and present, to truly compromise his city's role as a naturalist's Eden and a playground for tycoons. With the release of The Year of Hibernation
, his debut LP under his new moniker, Powers has accomplished just that. Built on synthesized instrumentation alongside the natural simplicity of girlish falsetto vocals and whistle-based melodies, Hibernation
has showcased Powers' ability to create surreal, layered tracks that ring out with the poise of not just one man, but nature itself.
I could try to be critical of certain aspects of Youth Lagoon's LP, citing the slow build-up of track one 'Posters' as feigned and unrealized. I could try really, really hard, downplaying some of their heavily synthesized melodies and chalking that up to some MacBook'ing white kid with too much time and not enough talent. I don't want to do that though, because I don't believe one bit of it. Rather, Trevor Powers has brought his music into the world with the same modest brawn that drew the Rocky Mountains out from Idaho's soil. His disconnected yodels sing not of unmotivated arrogance, but instead ring out with the pure, well-disposed patience of the ever-changing universe. The dreamy, reminiscent attitude that Powers dons on 'Seventeen' as he sings out "Oh, when I was seventeen/my mother said to me/'Don't stop imagining/the day that you do is the day that you die,'
" isn't just believable, it's phenomenal. Anyone can look yearningly into their past, sure, but the capacity here to manifest that nostalgic ache in music so fittingly heartfelt is more than just commendable. Simple and elegant, affecting but understated - The Year of Hibernation
is a young man's compelling realization of his insignificance amongst nature and humankind, as well as his beautifully benign indifference toward that fact. I guess that just means one more apathetic soul for Boise's suicide prevention team to keep an eye on.