Lust For Youth
34:39 min • Sacred Bones • June 10, 2014
Andrew Darley reviews
In the space of three years, Hannes Norrvide has wielded a sizeable output under his moniker Lust For Youth. The Swedish artist entered into the music world in 2012 with his debut Growing Seeds and succeeded it with Perfect View a year later. Norrvide has now released the third record in three years and it sounds as though he is digging towards something different. Whilst Lust For Youth’s previous two records were characterised by fuzzed-out, lo-fi synthwave; International leaps up with brasher and brighter sounds. Performing and touring as a live act appears to have brought a decision to ditch the distance and graininess of his recording style, in favour of producing an album that is polished and assertive. He has brought his melodies to the forefront of his songwriting which felt like miasma in his music before. A further notable change with this release is that Lust For Youth is no longer a solo act, instead it is now a three-piece band featuring regular collaborator Loke Rahbek and Malthe Fisher.
Rahbek described the album as a record dealing with “the rootless, sometimes almost inhuman, nature of traveling and touring. Hotel rooms and strangers’ beds, drugs and clubs, and the impossibility of living a regular life”. It’s no surprise then that the album incorporates flashes of genres developed and curated by bands from Europe, America and the UK. Dramatically opening with ‘Epoetin Alfa’, its brooding atmosphere rides on a rythmn of a deep bassline and guitar pattern, as Norvidde stares into a void with a chorus of exclamations “Time. Design. Persistence”. What’s markedly different as a collective is that the song takes all of the act’s signature elements to date and streamlines and amplifies them.
‘Illume’ follows with a stark juxtaposition of opulent, tropical-sounding keyboards and sprightly acoustic guitars. Over the course of the album, it’s difficult not to hear nuances of artists that potentially affected Lust For Youth’s approach to music. Their blend of dance pop, new wave and rock recalls the work of Joy Division, New Order, Depeche Mode or Alphaville. ‘New Boys’ and ‘Armida’, for example, resonate with some of these acts’ unashamedly pop moments. Nonetheless, what the album is unable to deliver is an overall impact. It includes three instrumental songs and the spoken word ‘Lungomare’, which although are pleasing they somewhat distract from the more driven songs. A sense of imbalance exists in how the album runs making it feel more like a collection of ideas than a fully realized piece. Similar to how their approach is clearer-sounding, Norvidde’s vocals are also more tangible than before. His deadpan, steely deliveries suit the likes of the ominous opener and blues-leaning ‘After Touch’, yet, elsewhere on ‘Running’ it sounds too heavy for the song’s atmosphere.
Lust For Youth’s third album seizes the opportunity to open up the act’s world and future potential. Working as a trio and taking a direct approach, when International gets it right, it’s stealthy in texture and sleek in sound. Nevertheless, rather than being a accomplished new move, this albums feels like the step in between getting there.
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