Release Date: Jun 11, 2013
Record label: Sacred Bones
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Goth Rock
Sweden’s Hannes Norrvide makes music with a neat knack of conveying both bleak gloom and a weird, rushing euphoria. His choice of equipment has a lot to do with it: supposedly, when he began the Lust For Youth project four years ago, Norrvide recorded everything on an old toy keyboard, and while ‘Perfect View’ might see him employing better gear, this isn’t a Daft Punk album. Rather, it’s 10 discombobulating and frequently terrific pieces of music for synthesizer and voice.‘Perfect View’ is not, by most reasonable yardsticks, a shot at the mainstream, but it embraces notions of melody and danceability with considerably more warmth than his previous albums.
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark – and Scandinavia as a whole, it would seem. No one with half a brain can have failed to notice the parade of grey-tinted Nordic crime dramas and violent detective novels that have been waltzing all over our television screens and best-seller charts for the past few years, trailing bloodied Fair Isle jumpers in their wake, and the music that the Scandi nations are pumping out at the moment does nothing to dispel this darkness. Lust For Youth, the moniker of Swedish darkwave act Hannes Norrvide, is just one of a whole host of depressive post-punk influenced bands who’ve exploded out of Europe’s northern reaches, along with the likes of Danish bands Iceage and Lower, and fellow Swedes Holograms.
Electronic producer Hannes Norrvide began his Lust for Youth project when he wanted to join a punk band but only had access to a cheap, often malfunctioning keyboard. His earliest output was dark and noisy, culminating in 2012's causticly lo-fi full-length Growing Seeds, a fuzzy and hookless collection of tracks that brimmed over with difficult, empty emotional pull. With third album Perfect View, Norrvide has shifted focus and pulled the curtain of noise away from Lust for Youth, focusing more on cleaner instrumental tracks and highlighting the use of rudimentary samples to convey his ever-heavy moods.
This is what Hannes Norrvide does as Lust for Youth: He sets up two simple melody lines on his Casio keyboard. He lets them ram ceaselessly into each other like abandoned go-karts. And then, over a muted thump of a drum machine, he hollers into the void. That's his entire M.O., and on paper it sounds about as appetizing as sucking stale air from an open freezer.
The thing with minimal wave music is that a template so forged in austerity can often feel like it requires personality to stay alive and keep moving. Unlike other forms of electronica, which are rooted more in a certain kind of physicality or ethereality (drill n’ bass, IDM, whatever), it comes from a point of repetition, monotony; it’s basically brittle, retro-futuristic, and emotionally caustic. Things like “Warm Leatherette” or Half Machine Lip Moves are perfect storms of texture, rhythm, but trying to rebottle that kind of magic seems pointless when you look at how much has gone before.
Looking at the work of Scandinavia’s most recent cultural expats, life seems pretty bleak. Iceage, Holograms, and Lower each take a none-more-black approach to post-punk tropes, Sexdrome (and Posh Isolation, the noise and metal label co-run by frontman Loke Rahbek) veers even darker to the hiss and roil of more nefarious strains of punk music, and even VÃ¥r, the ostensibly dancier sideproject composed of several of the Copenhagen scene’s forbears, aims for vacant and hollow rather than warm bodied floor fillers. Northern Europe could very well be beautiful this time of year, but the music that springs from it is forever settled amidst the bitterest of winters.
Lust for Youth is the solo moniker for Swedish electronic musician Hannes Norrvide. He released his second album Growing Seeds last year and has since returned with Perfect View. Lust for Youth mines the early ‘80s gothic synth pop of Soft Cell and Depeche Mode and updates it with his own style and today’s recording techniques. Perfect View starts out similar enough to its predecessor, Growing Seeds.