Lust for Youth, love for the ’80s
Lust for Youth has released their self-titled album after some fairly regular output since 2012. By the second song, the suspicion of “I think this sounds like ’80s pop” will be confirmed and maintained. The full, love-tinted synth sound, the programmed drums, and even the singing will get listeners excited for the upcoming season of “Stranger Things,” and just might make some John Hughes movies enter the week’s to-do list. It’s hard to tell if it feels too inspired by ’80s pop to feel like its own album, but there are a few moments that keep it aboard its own ship.
The intro of “New Balance Point” seems to imitate a television start-up sound, or some variation of the THX logo’s accompanying tune, which could put some ears at odds right off the bat. Luckily, for the more pop-minded, it steadies out and ends up being just fine. Some moderately heavy lyrics mentally linger more than its other elements as song number two enters the frame. This one, “Insignificant,” feels like a panoramic shot of a video game world or a CGI oasis in a movie. “Ready Player One” comes to mind, and much like singer Hannes Norrvide notes, it’s “always a pleasure” to indulge in a soundscape that truly does feel like a different place, a place that (for now) is unreachable. The longest on the album at 6:11, it wanders to some pensive and illuminating places, harmonically and texturally.
Oh man, “Venus De Milo” catches ears and turns heads right away. It ventures closer to typical electronic music than any of the other tracks and is right at home in a late night drive. It feels robotic, dancey, but more like Kavinsky than Daft Punk, and it excites with each through-listen of the album. “Great Concerns,” track four, feels more emotional than the first three, and it cuddles the heart with the repeated line “It hurts my eyes.” Don’t worry if it doesn’t stick out on the first listen, it improves with age to be sure.
“Fifth Terrace,” not-so-coincidentally the fifth song, is not as notable as those preceding it, but it’s the first so far to feature an uncredited female vocalist, and it feels less like the electronic world of “Insignificant” and more like a far-off countryside. “Adrift” is also less noteworthy, fitting with its title and kind of just, floating along, a part of something bigger but not defining it.
“Imola” is easily the most unique one here, feeling like Atlantis, a mystical marshland, or a planet other than Earth, perhaps one even bluer. The murmuring female voice (in a different language) is quite soothing. It feels like a middle chapter of a long book and is a welcomed treat with every listen. Far more atmospheric than poppy. The eighth and final track, “By No Means,” feels final without being too grand or too nonchalant: it’s the best pick of the bunch to fasten the bow tie. The Depeche Mode influence present at the start of the album remains here, but “By No Means” feels honest and personal despite its rather clear inspiration.
We all think about returning to childhood, if even for just one day. Lust For Youth certainly keeps the nostalgia alive and makes that return to being young seem a little more possible though it slips further away each day.