Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Album Review | Youth Lagoon - Wondrous Bughouse


First impressions are both hard to break, and totally inaccurate most of the time. They're a very human reaction to some sort of stimulation or another, be it visual or something more ethereal. And as presumptuous, and downright narcissistic as they are, they're these powerful, lingering feelings illustrated by that brain of yours each time said stimuli is reintroduced to your cerebral cortex.

Wondrous Bughouse, from my first listen, has been the soundtrack to an ice-cream man's drug-soaked ride through the country on a moonlit night. And if that wasn't Trevor Powers' intention when recording this, I just gave him the idea for quite possibly the most kickass mini-movie scored inadvertently by an album in the history of the music biz.

 So let's operate on the assumption you feel my flow on this whole doped up dairy king film premise. "Through Mind and Back," the album's opener, serves as his body's introduction to said smack. It's a dark time for this guy that we'll dub Mr. Janglepants , or Mr. JP if you're nasty, for the sake of this story.  And when we first meet him, he's reeling from some fucked-up, life altering event. He's sitting on the back of his truck, alone, taking his first hit.

The colors change. Reds turn to green, blacks to white. Things seem to brighten as he stumbles to the driver's seat. "Mute" kicks-in,  he slams the shifter in to drive, and the loudspeaker begins to blare the tinkering synth that frame our current track. Mr. JP slides back as he takes a turn away from whatever random neighborhood saw his final sale of the day. Hills appear seemingly from nowhere. The wheels spin furiously.

And as night falls, "Attic Door," takes over as he enters the pinnacle of his high. Swirling, and devious, he's out of his gourd, but feeling just fine. Swerving into the path of squirrels and opossums, he's fucking hell-on-wheels insane. But having the time of his life until that buzz starts to fade.

Instant dope-hangover hits him, and he's reminded of the real life issues that brought him to this point in his life. "The Bath" is his realization that this, his crazed country ride, is simply a temporary fix. He pulls over, resting his head on the steering wheel, while preparing his next taste, which he wastes no time administering. "The Pelican Man" starts its slow ascent, building on itself until reaching a frenzied point, where we see Mr. JP, now shirtless, stumbling through a field, on an apparent mission to get to his destination before his current high subsides to another miserable point.

And as he reaches one of those California cliffs, overlooking nothing but rocks and ocean,  "Dropla" starts spinning from his truck in the distance. He drops to his knees - he begins screaming over Powers' words.  "You'll never die! You'll never die!," over and over, as memories of a woman, far prettier than we would have given him credit for scoring, flood in.

He rolls around, as "Sleep Paralysis" and "Third Dystopia" cascade softly in the background. His chest, and face, now plastered with dead grass, his memories turn back to dream woman, and the picnic they shared on the green grass that occupies this very space when the weather is far warmer.  The ice cream truck, apparently brand new, sits behind them gently playing "Raspberry Cane."  They smile, share baked brie, and clink stemless glasses of Gruner Veltliner.

Current-day Mr. Janglepants gets up, and as if possessed  approaches the cliff, unflinchingly walking off the side without looking down. "Daisyphopia" clinks and clanks as we watch him fall, spinning, from above.  As he nears the ground, his rotation matches the impact point perfectly, and Mr. JP lands, gruesomely on the ground with a smile on his face, as the fleeting memory of the taste of his last meal with her trails off into the sea.

Long story...long? Buy it, and see if it quickly becomes something else to you. Wondrous Bughouse is surely one of the best records to be released in 2013.

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