Savage Hills Ballroom
Following two albums of delightfully kaleidoscopic, woozy indie-pop, Youth Lagoon’s Trevor Powers casts some Boise daylight on what has been a pointedly inward operation up to the present. Powers described his previous effort—the curiously dark and imaginative Wondrous Bughouse—as being “influenced by a fear of mortality but embracing it at the same time.” Savage Hills Ballroom, though not entirely divorced from its introspective forebears, finds this artist turning his attention toward life, calling out instead to his neighbors on tracks such as the bitter lead single, “The Knower.” Delay-spiraled synth layers and washy vocal production have largely been ironed out here in favor of pared-down arrangements of clean vocals, piano, and live drums. This configuration suits Powers’ creative juices and hook-knack better in some places (“Rotten Human”) than others (“Highway Patrol Stun Gun”). Though the stuff of Youth Lagoon originally pooled while Powers was navigating the depths of his own mind, it will be fascinating to listen as his explorations continue to flow over.