This is a really weird album. Youth Lagoon is the sobriquet of musician/singer/songwriter Trevor Powers, so this isn’t actually a “group.” Powers is one of those “everything but the kitchen sink” kind of guys apparently. These tracks are strange, dissonant, cacophonous electronic raves. Powers’ voice is raspy, weird and kind of unsettling. Parts of this album reminded me a whole lot of Van Dyke Parks’ Song Cycle, one of my least favorite albums. But, oddly, I didn’t hate this album. I gave it a few listens and it never came together, made any sense or really impressed me in any other way than just marveling at the production that created the dissonant, off-beat, off-key arrangements. Something about the sheer intensity of the wall of sound carries it a bit and it is never annoying or painful; it just never really adds up to anything but a lot of noise. Occasionally, as on the gorgeous, if still really odd, Sleep Paralysis, Powers strips down and gets minimal and spooky and that works better in my opinion. It’s just . . . not my thing. Again, it’s kind of a huge achievement that the album is actually listenable and even enjoyable really; superficially it’s the kind of album I typically absolutely loathe and find genuinely rage-inducing to listen too. Somehow Powers managed to make it all sound . . . weirdly lush instead of just jagged and ugly. Still, it’s not an album I’d waste my time on if I was you. Recommended against. 2 stars.
tl;dr – strange, dissonant, discordant, cacophonous wall of sound isn’t grating, but neither is it all that pleasant or even consistently interesting; astonishing production but what’s it all for? 2 stars.