Release Date: Jun 7, 2019
Record label: Sacred Bones
Line-up changes and maturity have transformed the Copenhagen band. They now sound like The Smiths via Pet Shop Boys, which turns out to be their sweet spot. Well, how could it not be? Lust For Youth's last album, 2016's 'Compassion', was the culmination of years of evolution. Back in their early days, when the band was still the visceral solo project of Swedish musician Hannes Norvinde, their harsh, industrial music sounded like Trent Reznor feeding his own hands through a meat grinder in the bowels of the Hacienda: unnerving and ruined, yet danceable.
Lust For Youth is a project that draws on a deceptively complex network of influences. Their dreamy synth textures are reminiscent of Depeche Mode, but then the beat thumps a bit harder and it starts to resemble ’90s Europop. On top of this are lyrics delivered in a deadpan manner that's equal parts Underworld and Preston from The Ordinary Boys.
With their self-titled fifth album, Lust for Youth continue refining the bouncy yet poignant synth pop they introduced on International. Now down to the duo of Hannes Norrvide and Malthe Fischer, they lift some of the clouds that shadowed their previous album Compassion in favor of a brighter, smoother approach. As on their previous two albums, Norrvide and Fischer still imbue their well-worn '80s influences with more skill and personality than many of their like-minded contemporaries.
The ten years since Hannes Norrvide first made music under the Lust for Youth moniker has seen a steady erosion of the darkness in the music, replaced instead by artsy iciness and synthesised superficiality. 2011's debut album Solar Flare was beholden to the beats of early Sisters of Mercy, the keyboard sounds of Kraftwerk, Ian Curtis style vocals and some elemental drone components, which combined to supplant the melodies which existed deep within the mix. With each subsequent album release, and with the addition of Malte Fischer to the band, Lust for Youth have moved away from the darker side of their identity and embraced the lighter new wave synth sounds of artist such as Depeche Mode, The Human League and New Order.
Coldwave never cared about you. The minimalistic, machine-driven sound that bubbled up twice in the past half-century--once in the midst of post-punk's late-1970s heyday, and again in early-2010s Brooklyn--was largely reliant on keeping its audience at bay, all but ensuring its limited shelf life. With synth lines so brittle that you could snap them over your pinky finger, hissy drum machines, and vocals that frequently bordered on atonality, coldwave was purposefully alienating.