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04/10/2015 : YOUTH LAGOON - Savage Hills Ballroom

YOUTH LAGOON

Savage Hills Ballroom

MusicCD
Americana-BluesCountryDreampopIndie

[72/100]   

Fat Possum Records
04/10/2015, Didier BECU

EN

With Savage Hills Ballroom, Youth Lagoon (or Trevor Powers if you want to know his real name) presents his third album. With his previous works The Year Of Hibernation and Wondrous Bughouse the young man from San Diego became in no time the king of lo-fi dreampop. The expectations for his third album were very high, but on the cover Powers just mentions "A collection of 10 songs by Youth Lagoon", as if it is not more than a set of lost B-sides.

Before Youth Lagoon fans try to jump under a train, they better know that Savage Hills Ballroom is a good album (and even more than that), but the disc needs some spins before it shows its beauty.

On his previous albums Trevor Powers was in the first place an ingenious pianist and still now, that is the instrument that dominates, albeit without the lo-fi profile. It’s like walking in some fairytale musical forest like only Mercury Rev can create it

That's already the case in the opener Officer Telephone. It takes some time before you get used to his nagging voice that would fit ideally in a Pavlov's Dog imitation group, but once you get over that threshold, you will be pleased to listen to the lamentations of this man.

In Highway Patrol Stun Gun Powers Trevor shamelessly rips off Struggle For Pleasure by Wim Mertens. And well, apparently he likes to steal other people's ideas, because Free Me is a blueprint of Crucify by Tori Amos. And yet, Youth Lagoon gets away with it and that's because this young American knows very well how to pen down the ideal melancholic pop song. Listen for example to The Knower and youwill instantly realize that all your Keane CD’s have to land in the garbage can (something you should have done years ago!)

Savage Hills Ballroom is far from original, but the captain knows damn well which waves he has to sail to touch the hearts of his passengers.

Didier BECU
04/10/2015


NL

Met Savage Hills Ballroom is Youth Lagoon (of Trevor Powers indien u zijn echte naam wenst te horen) aan zijn derde album toe. Met zijn vorige platen The Year Of Hibernation en Wondrous Bughouse werd de jongeman uit San Diego in geen tijd tot de koning van de lo-fi dreampop gekroond. De verwachtingen voor zijn derde (rijpere) plaat zijn dan ook torenhoog gespannen, maar Powers voegt op de hoes van zijn nieuwste telg gewoon doodleuk de woorden “A collection of 10 songs by Youth Lagoon” toe, net alsof het om niet meer dan een serie afdankertjes gaat.

Vooraleer de Youth Lagoon-fans overwegen om massaal onder een trein te springen, mogen ze gerust zijn: Savage Hills Ballroom is een knappe plaat (en zelfs meer dan dat), alleen heeft het schijfje heel wat draaibeurten nodig vooraleer het ook maar iets van zijn schoonheid laat zien.

Trevor Powers viel destijds in de eerste plaats vooral door zijn ingenieuze pianospel op en dat is ook nu nog altijd het instrument dat overheerst, alleen is hier van lo-fi absoluut geen sprake meer, maar wandel je zorgeloos in een sprookjesachtig muzikaal bos rond zoals alleen Mercury Rev het kan creëren.

Dat is meteen het geval bij de opener Officer Telephone. Het is wel wat wennen aan zijn zeurderige stem die ideaal zou zijn voor een Pavlov’s Dog-imitatiegroepje, maar eens je over deze drempel heen bent, zal je met plezier naar de klaagliederen van de man luisteren. In Highway Patrol Stun Gun durft Powers het aan om schaamteloos Struggle For Pleasure van Wim Mertens (voor cultuurbarbaren het Proximus-liedje dus) te plagiëren. En tja, blijkbaar houdt hij ervan om andermans ideeën te stelen, want Free Me is gewoon niet meer dan een doordruk van Crucify van Tori Amos. En toch raakt Youth Lagoon er mooi mee weg en dat komt omdat deze jonge Amerikaan zeer goed weet hoe het ideale melancholische poplied moet klinken. Luister bijv. naar The Knower en je kiepert meteen al je Keane-platen de vuilnisbak in (iets wat je trouwens eigenlijk al heel lang had moeten doen!).

Savage Hills Ballroom is verre van origineel, maar de kapitein van het schip weet verdomd goed langs welke golven hij moet varen om het hart van zijn toeschouwers te raken.

Didier BECU
04/10/2015


 

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