Lust For Youth ‘Compassion’ (Sacred Bones)

Ice-cold drum ’n’ bass meets 80s/90s synthwave anyone?

Lust For Youth have gone through several transitions since their conceptualisation in 2009. Hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden, they started life as a solo outfit helmed by Hannes Norrvide, who, unable to join his mates in their punk band because there was little call for his keyboard skills, decided to make music on his own.

He flitted between genres, moving from gothic darkwave towards a more synthpop direction and transformed to a two-piece and then a three-piece outfit. The current iteration consists of Hannes, Loke Rahbek (of Croation Amor) and producer Malthe Fischer. The three of them have preened and polished ‘Compassion’, LFY’s follow-up to 2014’s ‘International’, with a meticulous grace. It is a record that has been crafted… compassionately.

All jokes aside, this feels like a natural progression for Lust For Youth. Combining several elements into this long-player, non of these eight tracks ever feel like they’re lost, unable to find their way or unsure in which musical direction to turn. ‘Stardom’ opens proceedings and draws out its synths, the drums continuous as Norrvide’s vocals sigh heavily, with its melancholy echoing off into the distance and setting the overall mood for the album.

While ‘Compassion’ isn’t quite as low-key as previous outings, neither is it as buoyant as ‘International’. The influences shine through though with smatterings of New Order here, a bit of Pet Shop Boys there. There are moments where it feels like The Smiths, albeit a little more electronic and a little less Morrissey.

The album as a whole straddles the line between the light and dark. Moodier tracks like ‘Limerence’ are juxtaposed with an upbeat mix of drums and synths, ‘Sudden Ambitions’ is very 80s synthwave (at times almost leaning on retrowave) while ‘Better Looking Brother’ uses most of its seven and a half minutes to create something more danceable and rhythmic. ‘Tokyo’ is more contemporary, while still drawing on older influences (more drum ’n’ bass-y, even dubby in places) and the whole thing draws to a close with ‘In Return’, a more experimental slow sombre track], very 90s sounding and accompanied by a foreign tongue.

Lust For Youth have created an album that doesn’t outstay its welcome while ensuring it leaves an impact. Some may argue that they borrow too liberally from their musical influences, but Norrvide and co make sure it feels fresher and more contemporary. ‘Compassion’ is romantic, vulnerable record that soars ever higher while casting a bleak, beautiful shadow.

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