Ladies and Gentlemen: Youth Lagoon

November 16th, 2011

Youth Lagoon – Mercury Lounge – November 15, 2011

New is exciting. It breaks from routine and offers something different. When it comes to music, eager listeners latch onto new artists. This community supports potential, especially young talent. And on Tuesday night, a sold-out crowd poured into Mercury Lounge to discover Youth Lagoon. Trevor Powers, the band’s 22-year-old principal, speaks like he sings: softly and fragilely. Halfway through the set, he expressed gratitude for the opportunity to visit New York City. Behind a keyboard, he, along with friend and touring guitarist Logan Hyde, played in near darkness, with only a dim red lightbulb to light their faces.

While Powers’ reverb-saturated vocals gave the illusion of being in a cave, dream-pop landscapes enveloped the room and a backing track supplied heft and driving purpose to wandering melodies. Performed live, songs from the debut full-length, The Year of Hibernation, received the acoustic space they deserve. Earnest songwriting isn’t new, and although I overheard an observer call Powers “an infantile Dylan,” he hardly fits the description. Excitement excuses genuine but misguided praise, and Youth Lagoon is for the moment. —Jared Levy