Lust for Youth started as a solo project for Hannes Norrvide and later expanded into a trio including Loke Rahbek and Malte Fischer. With their newest self-titled release, this Danish band is now once again a duo. Ironically, the reduction in personnel has dramatically expanded Norrvide and Fischer’s synthpop sound. Lust for Youth offers eight tracks of sumptuous New Romanticism.
While appreciating Norrvide’s flat, deadpan vocals might take some time, they’re a perfect foil for Lust for Youth’s opulent music. “New Balance Point” opens the album with waves of continuous choruses and verses, while the instrumental break only arrives toward the end of the song. It’s worth the wait: there’s a definite flavor of OMD at their mid-1980s best. It also forces one to pay attention to the lyrics, which are perhaps surprisingly sarcastic for music this lush: “Is that what the world needs? / Is that really it? / Another local DJ assisting a semi-pro photographer.”
Similarly, “Insignificant” blends hilarious jabs (“With a clean motivation / And the new Axe cologne / Predetermined to miss the last bus home”) with a synth beat that would make Martin Gore smile. Here, the Lust for Youth instrumental break is gorgeously swoony, recalling the now-iconic “Bloodfest” from the season two finale of Hannibal, but buttressed with dance-floor friendly percussion.
The moody darkwave of “Statuesque” boasts more witty lyrics and melancholy vibes, but Lust for Youth’s penchant for contrasts shines brighter in “Great Concerns.” The beautifully catchy melody encompasses lyrics that are both personal and political, seamlessly transitioning from climate change to loneliness: “It hurts my eyes to see you walking by yourself / And cover up that beautiful disguise.”
Danish songstress Soho Rezanejad adds crystalline vocals to “Fifth Terrace,” a track which combines similar worries: “Our glaciers vanished / And our concern long before.” The repeated synth refrain gives the song a yearning quality that is matched by Rezanejad’s wistful singing style.
There is a delightful blend of 1980s synthpop and 1990s techno beats in the adorably bouncy melodies of “Adrift.” It feels almost quaintly retro, and as such, it’s undeniably hooky. The joy in the repeated lyric of “She slipped through his fingers / Like sand on a proper sunny day” belies the sadness of the words.
Things shift gears a bit with the spoken word “Imola.” The track’s hypnotic minimalist melody verges on late period Japan while an unnamed female speaks softly in Romanian about the final race (and death) of Brazilian Ayrton Senna da Silva at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. It’s a spectacular achievement in both form and content and begs for more Lust for Youth sonic experiments in this vein.
Not content to leave things on a serious note, however, Lust for Youth’s final track is the viciously cutting “By No Means.” Fantastic guitar and bass melodies balance out harsh lyrics like “A compliment from you would insult me.” Even the subject of this mockery would have to admit that it’s easy to swallow this bitter pill, coated as it is in such a tremendous melody.
Lust for Youth now have seven albums under their collective belts. It’s high time pop fans took notice and started giving them the attention they deserve.
Lust for Youth was released by Sacred Bones on June 7, 2019.
Leslie Hatton (@theinsolent1) is a Fannibal, an animal lover, a music maven and a horror movie junkie. She created and managed Popshifter from 2007 – 2017, and also contributes to Biff Bam Pop, Diabolique Magazine, Everything Is Scary, Modern Horrors, Rue Morgue and more.