Track Review: Youth Lagoon – “Dropla”

[Fat Possum; 2013]

Upon hearing the first cut off his sophomore album, Wondrous Bughouse, it’s apparent that Youth Lagoon has taken formidable steps forward since The Year of Hibernation. On “Dropla”, chief architect Trevor Powers tells a warmhearted tale with a true beginning, middle and end. As a handful instruments swim in a gauzy, twinkling smog, you begin to realize that this is the sound of Powers emerging from his room and stepping out into the world. Again, the details are intimate, but they’re less like peering through a keyhole and more like reading a storybook. Powers fervently repeats the phrase: “You’ll never die,” the desperation in his voice intensifying with each iteration, like a child struggling to erase his realization of some sad truth. There’s an almost mantic air to the words here. The vocals no longer sound like they’re coming from the bottom of a canyon, but remain meek, brittle and crackled. Vulnerability seems built into Youth Lagoon’s genes, but when it’s coupled with such a strong sense of resolve, like it is on “Dropla”, it’s hard see it as anything but uplifting.