Release Date: Jun 10, 2014
Record label: Sacred Bones
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Goth Rock
As Lust for Youth, Hannes Norrvide cranked out three albums in two years, and his artistic growth was just as swift and prolific. His biggest step forward comes with International, an album that finds him moving into new territory and excelling at it. Now a trio thanks to the addition of producer Malthe Fischer as well as longtime collaborator Loke Rahbek, it's fitting that this is Lust for Youth's most expansive-sounding set of songs yet.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Lust For Youth have endured a torrid evolution since 2012. Their first long player Growing Seeds was a twisted mess of plodding post-club indie house, topped by the atonal, baggy ravings of main man Hannes Norrvide. 2013's Perfect View demonstrated a progression of sorts, widening the scope to include beats you could actually distinguish and a selection of keyboard sounds other than the drilling Casio that seems to fascinate their frontman.
Hannes Norrvide founded Lust For Youth as an ear-blitzing noise project in his native Sweden, but since moving to Copenhagen in 2010, where he fell in with the crowd around Iceage and the Posh Isolation label, his music has changed beyond recognition. When NME first interviewed Norrvide in 2012, he was singing the praises of the Pet Shop Boys, and talking of giving his gothy synthpop laments a polish. 2013’s ‘Perfect View’ gestured in this direction, but ‘International’ feels like an arrival.
Hannes Norrvide's Lust for Youth started off as a lo-fi project, with a murky sound loosely indebted to early synth-pop and darkwave. Skeletal synth lines bounced against each other, assisted by strident drum machines and Norrvide's lonesome cries, always too distant to grasp whatever emotions he was trying to process. Drenched in reverb, his first recordings seemed to create a comfort zone for their own architect; as a listener, you'd have to patiently work your way through it.
You can feel the warmth as soon as the opening bars of “Epoetin Alfa”, the first song on the fourth album from Lust For Youth, chime in. While “sunny” would be pushing it, International does mark the continuing emergence from the darkness for Hannes Norrvide as he transforms his band from dark and metallic electro to something approaching classic synth-pop. Once you get your head around the fact that this is indeed the same Lust For Youth that made the murky Growing Seeds, then the marginally cleaner Perfect View ,then you can settle back and enjoy proceedings.
Lust For Youth go for the synth pop jugular on their third album, International. Back when it was Hannes Norrvide's solo project, LFY released a series of noisey, Casio-driven post-punk, with vocals that sounded like a Cro Magnon rebirth of Ian Curtis. Since then, Norrvide's loosened his grip, inviting Loke Rahbek (of Vår) and Malthe Fischer to join.
Minds typically go to dark, severe places when describing Lust for Youth: the blackest winters of Hannes Norrvide’s native Sweden, mental and physical prisons, Joy Division songs. So when a Lust for Youth song is built on Norrvide singing “this time he crossed the line” with typical, Teutonic austerity, you figure it's not going to end well for whoever he's talking about. And you’d be right—the song's about disgraced Tour de France champion and lawsuit magnet Lance Armstrong (“He spins the wheels down Champs-Élysées to acquire his seventh title for his people to admire”) and takes its title (“Epoetin Alfa”) from a drug frequently abused in the cycling world.
It’s healthy sometimes to find a layer of abstraction between yourself and whatever you take for granted. On their fourth full-length LP, International, Scandinavian trio Lust for Youth do the work of building that membrane. International is a move away from the lo-fi, cold wave post-punk of the group’s first three outings toward a brightly colored new wave.