You probably won't see a more surprising reinvention this year. Trevor Powers' Youth Lagoon project has transformed from a lo-fi 'bedroom pop' proposition into something impressively widescreen and colossal-sounding. Whatever I was expecting the follow-up to 2011's The Year of Hibernation to sound like, it certainly wasn't this. There's no question that Powers has taken a huge step up. Lead single 'Mute' was only the tip of the iceberg, as this often triumphant-sounding record signals that the one-man band is stepping out into glorious sunlight. It's an album that has a much more immediate effect than its predecessor, which ended up as one of my favourite albums of 2011, but took about two months to fully hit home. It was a gentle and unassuming album that made for melodically direct and addictive listening, but it only takes the hazy, drifting guitar squalls in the opening seconds of 'Through Mind and Back' to indicate that its successor will be quite different - and then 'Mute' kicks in, and the gulf in ambition between the two albums becomes quite clear: Out with the distinct bedroom project feel, in with gargantuan psychedelic-pop melodies and even better hooks.

The obvious comparison needs to be made, I'm afraid. With albums like this, it's often that something sounding remotely similar will be tagged with the 'Animal Collective-esque' label, as the Baltimore band's constantly shifting styles make them nigh-on impossible to pin down, and ensure that any number of similar-sounding acts will be compared with them, but this time around, the comparisons are justified. Powers chose to work with Ben Allen, producer of last year's Centipede Hz., and the loose-sounding, borderline jam session-like aspects of Wondrous Bughouse ensure that there's much more to the similarities than initially meets the ear. Powers sounds like a dead ringer for AC member Avey Tare on 'Attic Doctor', and the warped-sounding 'The Bath' could have fit on Merriweather Post Pavilion with no difficulty. However, despite the album's immediacy, it will seem difficult for some people because of the particularly layered approach that Powers takes to his new style of song-writing, sometimes sounding every bit as chaotic as its typically psychedelic artwork. It's not as full-on as all that, though - 'The Bath' is meditative and calming, and lead single 'Dropla' is among the most uplifting moments on the album, moving through different moods and gradually building towards a cathartic finale, the empowering refrain of "You'll never die" repeated by Powers until the belief in his words is almost tangible, one of the moments on the album when it's difficult to believe it was created by the same man whose anxiety issues were an integral part of his debut's backstory.

It both was, and wasn't. While Wondrous Bughouse's songs sometimes have Youth Lagoon's trademark melancholic air about them (something which is particularly noticeable on slow-burning closer 'Daisyphobia'), Powers has been imbued with the confidence to let his 10 new songs stretch to 51 minutes between them, letting them find their own way and discarding typical song structure, instead allowing his adventurous spirit to manifest itself in free-flowing melodies and abrupt changes of pace; the latter's used quite effectively in the album's sublime closer 'Raspberry Cane', as the song starts at a steady pace, a delicate piano line leading into the song's main hook in a breathtaking moment that is quite possibly the high point of the album. Remarkable in both ambition and execution, Powers' second record is indeed wondrous.