Lust For Youth - Compassion

Lust For Youth – Compassion

If you’re looking for something new and exciting in the electronic music world, this album won’t set off any underlying alarms of uniqueness. However, if you’re fans of New Order, Depeche Mode and other influential acts of the 80s, then this may just tickle your pickle.

Hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, Lust for Youth provide an album that is certainly atmospheric and overall ‘sad’ sounding, but is it emotive enough to engage with listeners perhaps expecting some sharper electronic edges? I think so.

The album title alone, ‘Compassion’, sounds like it was taken from the New Order scrapbook of potential single/LP titles. It definitely wouldn’t be out of place on a Joy Division track listing, the sounds may be different but the sentiment is there. The collection of tracks give the image of a freezing industrial wasteland drowning in sun.

Compassion’s opener, ‘Stardom’, is moody and cold; the perfect tone setter. Atmospheric with its echoing and spikey interjections of bright guitar, driven along by a backdrop of robust percussive sounds. The singer, Hannes Norrvide is reminiscent  of Iceage frontman, Elias Bender Rønnenfelt. The vocals are harsh, it’s like singers from Scandinavia are constantly suffering a mad winter cold even when drenched in the light of summer. They embody the environment they are surrounded by like no one else, it’s a truly authentic singing style. European yet more real, less synthetic and scripted. Real organic turmoil and darkness from the north.

Despite tracks in the beginning of this record sounding similar in tone, it’s still varied enough to make it more individual rather than one big long boring trip; like a lot of bands of the same tincture seem to produce. ‘Limerence’ is just ‘Enjoy the Silence’ part two, Depeche Mode are hugely influential in Lust for Youth’s sound. That’s not a bad thing, they’re great. But sometimes it can be a bit tedious. However, the trio manage to twist that blueprint enough to make it sound really new and exciting, even if that feeling is only superficial and deep down false.

The single ‘Sudden Ambitions’ is a strong track indeed. An uplifting chorus helps it a lot, although the lyrics aren’t mind meltingly stunning but there is still enough to warm the heart of any youthful misfit who dons a trench coat and surplus army boots. This is the track with the most noticeable 80s synth pop sound, which intrigues to how people are still influenced and using this framework for producing music today. It should sound dated, but somehow it doesn’t. Time has proven how many of those acts from back in the day like Depeche Mode, Erasure, Kraftwerk and later New Order, were ahead of the curve. The look of this band isn’t as gender bending as some mentioned above, but that’s a refreshing thing. The fashion associated with this image has always been cringe worthy and its boss to see a group of young lads not feel like they have to look a certain way, or act in a specific manner to match the music. They stay true to themselves and their homeland, always a positive with foreign bands inspired by music from other nations.

Lust For Youth

Lust For Youth

Lust for Youth definitely get stronger at the halfway mark of Compassion. The three tracks which offer the most interesting sounds and song writing credentials are ‘Better Looking Brother’, ‘Display’ and ‘Tokyo’. They have a bit more depth than, ‘Easy Window’, a wishy washy instrumental which doesn’t really go anywhere. The length that ‘Better Looking Brother’ brings is like an odyssey of pop on a sea of nostalgia driven sounds. That guitar again is extremely enjoyable, and a mainstay in the music which influenced this band. They’re not the most unique, but again there are signs that they can put a twist on the norm. The vocals are attention grabbing, not cheesy or overdone; but true and full of heartache.

The closer ‘In Return’ isn’t as spectacular though. A cacophony of electric noise, with a foreign narration lying on top, but doesn’t spoil the general surprise and enjoyment from this 8 track release.

The foundations for this band are good, well set with their previous album ‘International’. It’s a similar sound as their first, a bit darker, but not too far away from their original material. Despite this lack of major difference, there’s a progression in the sound. The songs are better-rounded, less open ended, but this still doesn’t mean that they’re creating something fresh and new. I know I’m being harsh, the album is good and it sounds relatively stimulating and I’m sure it will attract new followers for Lust for Youth. But, I would really like to see a band in this spectrum absolutely blow every waste of time copycat act out of the water. This Danish outfit can do it, with a few more substantial releases. They certainly have a better chance than some acts, especially from the UK.

Overall, this album is textbook synth pop. Inspired by obvious names and featuring lyrical content not totally awe inspiring, it’s still an enthralling listen. At times the wall of noise is agitating but the vocals from Norrvide keep you gripped.

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Liverpool born music writer with passion for punk and Everton FC