Now a duo instead of a three piece, Norwegian purveyors of eighties electronica Lust For Youth return with a new self-titled album and a focus on more bubbly, punk melodies.
Known for its utopian societies, flatpack furniture, and tall blond people, Scandinavia has recently demonstrated that it has many reasons to be equally proud for its musical output. From the cutting-edge techno coming out of Copenhagen to the exciting new bands coming out of Sweden. Since the release of their last three albums, Lust for Youth has cemented themselves as one of the premier bands to come out of the aforementioned country.
Looking through reviews, there have been several comparisons of Lusts for Youth’s new self-titled LP to everything from Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, and everything even remotely eighties and synthy. While the record’s production is rooted in the new wave developments of International, it has a more modern, glossy sheen this time around. There are several moments in the new record where they bare resemblance to a pop-punk band rather than a new wave one. More Blink 182 than New Order. More Mark Hoppus than Morrisey.
There is no traditional pop-punk ensemble but Hannes Norrvide’s catchy American-accented elocution and crystal-clear projection take centre stage and drive the songs forward with considerable gusto in comparison to the moody sullenness of previous records. This time he has taken full control of the vehicle and drives it onward with a newfound sense of confidence and purpose. The backdrop of mellow poppy synth melodies form a synergetic relationship with his lead where the two work together to subtly coax the listener to sing-along rather than outright demand them to do so.
Listen: Lust for Youth – Lust for Youth
Norrvide may have had a solo and sterile darkwave birth, but he has since snowballed down the proverbial mountainside of popular music and collected enough detritus (people and stylistic influences) to become almost unrecognisable from his original incarnation. Which is a good thing. There are enough xenophobic and introspective coldwave artists out there. But there is also a glut of homages to eighties new wave, too. Luckily for them in their current incarnation, they haven’t given themselves over fully to either. Their new self-titled album is about them cementing their own voice, and with that new voice comes new stories to tell.
The storytelling ability of Norrvide has been considerably honed from the previous albums. In “New Balance Point” he reflects on a series of procrastinating, unmotivated relationships. The song has the charming teenage naivety and energy of mid-nineties pop-punk while retaining the creative maturity they have developed over the years. In that sense, even the band’s name makes sense. They want to perpetuate the innocence, exuberance, and energy of youth. They don’t want to grow up.
Watch: “By No Means” – Lust for Youth
In “Venus De Milo” Norrvide taps into a more personal subject matter, his voice more sombre as he sings “Ohhhh you’re statuesque” in reference to his lover, whose perfection he finds pales in comparison to the ancient Greek statue and symbol of beauty the song is named after. In “Fifth Terrace” long-time collaborator Soho Rezanejad plays her usual role as an elegant counterpoint to Norrvide’s sweet and sticky singing style, adding a refreshing breath of feminine air to the mix. Ana Ivan pays a moving tribute to the Brazilian Formula One champion Ayrton Senna who died in 1994 on the exclusively Danish “Imola.”
They have also efficiently improvised as a two-man set-up since the departure of Loke Rahbek. Even the self-titling of the record feels symbolic like they are officially crystallizing their identity all over again. The focus for the band this time around was on melody, lyrics, and hooks. The anxiety and introspection of previous releases are still there in traces but now overshadowed by an altogether sunnier “glass half-full” disposition. Whether their fans prefer it when their glass was half empty though, remains to be seen.
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