Few careers have taken off as quickly as that of Trevor Powers. Starting working under the name Youth Lagoon in 2010, Powers signed to Fat Possum to put out his debut LP, The Year of Hibernation. A record of devastating simplicity and breathtaking beauty, it seemed to become an instant classic – Pitchfork summed up the feelings that many instantly had towards the album in their 8.4/10 review, noting “The record mixes feelings of protection and safety with the tug of adventure and wraps it in compulsively listenable music that explodes at just the right moments.” Written and recorded at a time where Powers was receiving treatment for anxiety, it went on to feature on the end of year lists of Pitchfork, Pretty Much Amazing and a number of other outlets.
Follow-up Wondrous Bughouse showcase a style that seemed to match Powers’ own emotional development – more experimental, slightly more extroverted and definitely more sophisticated. In their 9/10 review Best Fit called it “a delicious collage: provocative, allusive and consistently engaging”, while DIY said “it’s evident this record took Powers to places he wishes he’d never been. Darkness has never sounded so gloriously technicolor” and awarded 8/10.
This year, Youth Lagoon has once again returned and furthered that maturity with Savage Hills Ballroom, and album that Powers has said deals with acknowledging personal flaws and breaking down barriers. Earning some of the best reviews of his career so far, All Music (8/10) wrote that “[the album] expanded the Youth Lagoon sound without losing any of the intimacy of his bedroom pop beginnings” while Uncut (8/10) praised the LP’s “Lush, lightly electronic chamber-pop arrangements”.