Album Review – Lust for Youth: Compassion

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Lust for Youth’s latest effort rides its coldwave influences past the post-punk phase and into its most logical port of call – modernity.

The resurgence of synth-pop in the Scandinavian scene has been a long time coming from a generation of musicians who grew up with early New Order and Depeche Mode mixtapes. Those same influences can be heard on Compassion but the retro-futurist synthetic jabs of their previous efforts have been swapped out in favour of organic, fulfilled swells that reflect the droning lyricism of the first two tracks, Stardom and Limerence. The lyrics “I’m Complete, I’m Content/But I’m floating/ in the air, in the clean” show that the group have moved away from self-deprecating subject matter to reflect modern influences of lust and longing, found among artists like Washed Out.

Hannes Norrvide formed Lust for Youth in 2009 and since then – having brought on Malthe Fischer (Oh No Ono) & Loke Rahbek (Croatian Amor) – their sound has developed considerably whilst still retaining the spiritual roots of its production. Fischer and Rahbek’s influence on Compassion are as clear as they are on their previous effort, International, which can easily be heard on the instrumental Clear Window from the subtly embellished soundscape. As a trio, their ideas are diverse and expand beyond the almost bedroom-like recordings of Lust for Youth’s adolescence. Compassion is a maturation of these collaborators’ efforts, in that regard.

It’s on the track Better Looking Brother that Lust for Youth pay the biggest dividends to classic groups like Pet Shop Boys and cut loose into full-blown electronic dance territory while Norrvide reverts to his old nihilistic persona in his lyrics: “You are the better-looking brother/ We’re so unlike each other”. It’s by far the strongest effort on Compassion but not by a stretch. The project remains consistent and understands its comfort zone well, never straying too far away from what it’s best at.

Compassion composes itself in its penultimate offering, Tokyo before closing with In Return; both are sensible conclusions, begging repeatedly “maybe one day, maybe one day” on the former track, echoing the tinges of optimism that opened Compassion in the first place.

Rather than renounce their past, Lust for Youth embrace its influences with outstretched arms and a breath of life in its production. It’s not the resuscitation coldwave necessarily needed, but rather a gentle tap that twitches the toes and shows the genre isn’t dead but drearily sleepy, as it always has been.

6.8
OUT OF 10

Artist: Lust for Youth

Album: Compassion

Label: Sacred Bones Records

Release Date: 18th March 2016