It is said that when you lose something, you gain something else.
Watching Boise guitar and keys duo Youth Lagoon bob their heads gently to the tune of their delicately orchestrated synth-pop at VAC, it was hard not to feel that the edge may have been lost from the cutting edge of pop music. It wasn't that long ago that a band was essentially a traveling cult, making nightly efforts to abscond with your children after wooing them with savage foreign-sounding rhythms.
Youth Lagoon on the other hand, isn't remotely threatening. Not only could you probably easily take them in a fight, but their music is smooth and soothing with excellent use of space and tone that never crowds the arrangements and lets the nuances of every riff shine brightly. Guitars twinkle and electric piano-toned keys form a solid foundation on which to layer tender, charmingly young lyrics, making Youth Lagoon sound a bit like a slowed down version of The Postal Service or a cheerier version of The XX. Total make-out music. In fact, if you can't picture a cinematic scene with two awkward young people in the throes of love running through an airport toward each other and smooching as the credits roll, then you just may not have a heart.Casiotone for the Painfully Alone certainly comes to mind—they're doing a bang-up job of it. The phrase, "This is the first local band I've genuinely liked in a long time," was whispered from ear to ear like a game of telephone.
So despite its cliche, ready-to-be-embroidered-on-an-apron level of wisdom, there appears to be something to the idea of gaining from a loss. We may have lost the excitement of visceral terror that came with music, but we've gained something beautiful and tender in its place.
Youth Lagoon will play at Reef on Saturday, March 12, and should be releasing their first recording sometime in spring.