“Savage Hills Ballroom” by Youth Lagoon

September 26. 2015 | By Mayumi Okamoto

Youth Lagoon - Savage Hills Ballroom

Youth Lagoon
Savage Hills Ballroom
[Fat Possum Records]

Trevor Powers is a reliable narrator throughout each of the detailed and colorful stories he tells in each of his records. With The Year of Hibernation, he invited us to step over the threshold into his bedroom to better acquaint ourselves with his life growing up. Through the looking glass we were pulled on into Wondrous Bughouse. Now with his third full-length album, Savage Hills Ballroom, we finally begin to understand Trevor Powers through his eyes as an observer as he provides unabridged commentary on the world around him.

This clear perspective on his world perhaps has always been embedded in Youth Lagoon‘s previous work but, for the first time we can really understand Powers both literally and figuratively with his strong vocals-forward approach. “Kerry” is a piano ballad to the drug addicted, law enforcement-avoiding subject of the song which emotionally tugs you towards empathy rather than contempt. “Officer Telephone” and “The Knower” are two of the best examples of Powers’ perspective on societal happenings – with declarations of “we will be the face of the future at last,” and observations on the disillusionment of people going through the motions of life. “Everyone wants to think they’re good at heart, when they’re full of hate. everyone wants to think that they won’t grow old, yet they keep aging.”

Savage Hills Ballroom is Youth Lagoon at its finest because Trevor Powers speaks honestly and loudly, which also exposes an unspoken vulnerability.

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