Trevor Powers is back with a much more streamlined sound than anything we heard on his first two LPs. The influence of Ali Chant, the producer behind Perfume Genius’ 2014 record Too Bright, can be felt all over Savage Hills Ballroom where Powers’ vocal are front and center. They demand more attention now that the haziness that cloaked them on The Year of Hibernation or Wondrous Bughouse has disappeared.
Powers is a powerful singer, so this vocal unveiling is welcome. However, the songwriting here feels safer than the lazy-afternoon vibe of The Year of Hibernation or the wonky psych-pop of Wondrous Bughouse. Savage Hills Ballroom isn’t a step backward: it’s enjoyable, glossy, and catchy. But it certainly isn’t the most original record in the Youth Lagoon repertoire.