Published Jun 05, 2019Anyone following the development of Swedish goth/new wave group Lust For Youth over the years will point to 2014's International as a pivotal album. Having previously released three LPs of noisy, effects-laden synth music delivered in a thoroughly DIY style (not without interest), principal songwriter Hannes Norrvide and frequent collaborator Loke Rahbek were joined by producer Malthe Fischer, who cleaned up the project's sound considerably — for better or worse, depending on how much you like noise and effects.
Their latest, 2019's self-titled Lust For Youth, seems to confirm the transition, and even the most begrudging of fans will have to admit the trade was worth it.
Working now as a duo, Norrvide and Fischer have settled into a fruitful relationship. The production is beautiful, dark, and lush (lots of strings and keys), the songwriting confident and mature, and Norrvide's caustic vocals front and centre, with more than a few memorable lines. His phrasing of "a compliment from you would insult me" on closer "By No Means" is dripping with disdain, and it's great.
At times, the album sounds like Pet Shop Boys if they'd ever gone through an ill-humoured goth phase, but other touchstones include the Cure, Depeche Mode, New Order, and frankly, a bit of contemporary Danish synth-crooner Dinner, although less weird.
Norrvide and Fischer are more than their influences, however, even if they're working within a well-worn tradition. The tracks on Lust For Youth unfold in an unhurried, but meaningful way, always working towards a satisfying transition or crescendo — songwriting that transcends style or genre. At eight tracks, some might criticize it on grounds of length, but these are robust, well-crafted songs that, even after multiple spins, reveal fresh details between the more obvious hooks. Throw this one on when you're feeling grumpy, but still want to hum along. (Sacred Bones)