YOUTH LAGOON plays the Great Hall May 13. See listing. Rating: NNNN
Youth Lagoon, aka 23-year-old Trevor Powers, became a household name in indie rock thanks to his haunting 2011 debut, The Year Of Hibernation. The ghosts of that album creep into his latest effort, but this time his whispery vocals and synth lines aren't cloaked in a hazy glow. With a sturdier voice, fuller instrumentation and longer songs that often sprawl past the five-minute mark, Powers keeps the emotional weight intact but seems more confident as a songwriter.
Mute opens with a sprightly keyboard, hefty drums and Powers's voice sounding better than ever, all before an extended guitar refrain transforms the song. Elsewhere he channels Animal Collective, which makes sense since the album's producer, Ben Allen, worked on AC's Merriweather Post Pavilion. A few tracks ease into each other too easily and are forgettable, but there's still an overall sense of growth and fruition. Considering many bedroom-pop artists get stuck in a boring haze forever, that's a welcome thing.
Top track: Mute