Album of the Day: Lust for Youth, “Lust For Youth”
By Annie Zaleski · June 04, 2019 Merch for this release:
Compact Disc (CD), Vinyl LP

Founded in 2009 as the solo project of Hannes Norrvide, Lust For Youth have evolved into adventurous practitioners of punchy techno, pulsating darkwave, and greyscale new wave. The Copenhagen duo’s latest self-titled effort is just as meticulous as previous releases. However, its arrangements are sprawling and luxurious, and the album’s inspirations are drawn largely from the twin sources of melodic ’80s dream-pop and melancholy synth-pop. “Adrift” nods to New Order’s brisk rhythmic thrums, but has the winsome vibe of the Go-Betweens’ 16 Lovers Lane; “Great Concerns” is dark, insistent electro that’s undercut with shadowy post-punk; and the shoegaze-y “Fifth Terrace,” which features guest vocals from Soho Rezanejad, is shrouded in a fog of sugary keyboards.

Norrvide’s sentimental voice resembles Psychedelic Furs’ Richard Butler, and his even-keeled delivery stands in stark contrast to the album’s bleak lyrics. On “New Balance Point,” the narrator comes to terms with a partner’s narcissism, while “By No Means” scorns a vile, miserable person with savage put-downs: “A compliment from you would insult me.” The protagonist of “Fifth Terrace” is mired in self-pity, convinced that their imperfect life isn’t going to get better.

Yet Lust For Youth know that solipsism is a seductive trap, and so Norrvide and creative partner Malthe Fischer provide emotional balance with deliberate outward glances. “Great Concerns” marvels at the short-sightedness of people who deny evolution and climate change (“In times of great concerns / What will it take / A flood over Europe / A fist in the face, or what?”). The verses that follow switch gears, illustrating the ways that global anxiety intertwines with personal worries, as the perspective shifts to empathy for a person who seems burdened by life: “It hurts my eyes to see you sitting by yourself.” A decade into their career, Lust For Youth are still finding novel ways to strike a balance between pragmatism and optimism without becoming too lost in their own heads.

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