“It’s just me in my room with my eyes shut,” Youth Lagoon’s Trevor Powers creaks on “17,” from his debut, The Year Of Hibernation. Powers isn’t kidding: In interviews, the Boise newcomer has spoken about his struggles with crippling anxiety. Which explains why he recorded The Year Of Hibernation in his bedroom all by his lonesome, hemmed in by serious darkness. But Powers also unveils a strange magic that imbues his intimate-yet-epic songcraft. Like his early 2011 blog breakthrough “July”—still a highlight amid stiff competition on Hibernation—each goopy, reverb-drenched pop ditty starts small, with tinkling keys, minimal percussion, and Powers’ fragile vocals sounding piped in from a music box sunken in a pool. It has a lulling affect on tracks like “Afternoon” and “Montana,” which suddenly explode out in the open, beating along with hearty rhythms, swoon-worthy guitars, and Powers’ dreams of tangible happiness. There are only eight songs on Hibernation, but each track goes from murky depths to total transcendence as Powers, the wizard behind the curtain, attempts to dream himself out of the bedroom.
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