Listening to the music of Trevor Powers, more widely known as Youth Lagoon, is not so much a psychedelic experience as it is an exploration of Powers’ psyche. His sophomore release, 2013’s Wondrous Bughouse, is a mind-bending collection of rock and pop that blends a host of dissonant sounds together into a beautiful cacophony of noise that mirrors the storm going on inside Powers’ head. It is quite the trip.
Bughouse focuses on Powers’ attempts to make sense of the spiritual and physical worlds, all while balancing these things against the temporary nature of life. The alternately dreamy and scrape-your-fingernails-on-a-chalkboard abrasive rock sounds of the track “Mute” are like an amped-up version of the final act of Radiohead’s “Karma Police.” The song’s focus on life, death and the supernatural are augmented by a music video that is at once suburban and surreal. “Attic Doctor” plays like kooky, drug-laced circus music that Willy Wonka got his hands on, and “Third Dystopia” sets the scene for a tale of evil that has taken control of a village.
Powers’ search for clarity and answers to some of life’s biggest questions are heightened by the melting pot of musical tricks and sounds that accompany his soul-searching lyrics. The entire Youth Lagoon experience is like one big, messed-up dream, and maybe that’s the point.
Youth Lagoon plays 8 pm Tuesday, May 21, at WOW Hall; $13 adv., $15 door.