Release Date: Nov 13, 2012
Record label: Sacred Bones
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Goth Rock
Swedish electro-pop act Lust for Youth is the work of solo musician Hannes Norrvide, and with second proper full-length Growing Seeds, the project has grown into an all-encompassing atmosphere of dark sounds and struggling emotions. The caustic synth-pop Lust for Youth spins definitely fits in with the darkwave circles of the late 2000s and early 2010s, calling on the same remnants of early-'80s synth-wave cassette releases that inspired the minimal harshness of Xeno & Oaklander, Led Er Est, and the whole Minimal Wave records roster. At first blush, the songs all drift by with an almost interchangeable set of key elements: cheap-sounding keyboards, drum machines so drenched in static and corrosion that their sounds border on noise, and pained vocals drenched in Throbbing Gristle delay but still drowning beneath the din.
Before you listen to the debut by Gothenburg’s Hannes Norrvide, you need to be in the right headspace. ‘Growing Seeds’ isn’t an album for a bus ride. Without your full attention it’ll sound like bits of old machinery making out. Instead, take it to a dark and smoke-filled room. Invite ….
Lust for Youth feels neither lustful nor particularly youthful: The work of one Swedish guy holding down two or three notes on a Casio and declaiming tonelessly, like he's straining to make himself heard over a supermarket PA system, it feels about as sensual as a tomb. If it evokes any lust at all, it's the vampiric sort, as if Gary Oldman, in all his blade-licking, scenery-chewing, Frau Helga-wig sporting Bram Stoker's Dracula glory, had composed a minimal wave album for his beloved instead of crossing oceans of time. Its stylistic antecedents are pretty clear-- New Order, the Normal, and the earliest and most inchoate 1970s synth-pop experiments.
If you take the two musical genres of noise and synth pop and trace them back, back through Wolf Eyes and La Roux, back through Coil and the Pet Shop Boys, all the way back to Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire and The Normal, you reach a point where the two lines wind together and fuse. Both lines were forged in the white heat of the late '70s, when the growing availability of synthesizer technology – either custom-built, from manuals, or in new budget-price models such as the Korg MS-10 – made analogue synthesis available not just to the caped lords of progressive rock, but to the oiks on the street. In the last few years, a number of groups have emerged who, whether by intention or not, are working to reconcile these two paths of noise and synth-pop: former hardcore screamer Wes Eisold's Cold Cave; Greh 'Hive Mind' Holger's Pure Ground; Vår, the new project from Iceage's Elias Bender Rønnenfelt; new London duo Natural Assembly; and Lust For Youth.