[17 June 2013]
Lust for Youth is the solo moniker for Swedish electronic musician Hannes Norrvide. He released his second album Growing Seeds last year and has since returned with Perfect View. Lust for Youth mines the early ‘80s gothic synth pop of Soft Cell and Depeche Mode and updates it with his own style and today’s recording techniques. Perfect View starts out similar enough to its predecessor, Growing Seeds. “I Found Love” is a dense, dark dance track with a few inaudible words exclaimed every few measures as distorted synthesizers swirl in and out, and distant echoes convey the sound of a forest at night. Despite its title, the sound of the song carries more of an eerie feeling than that of finding love. The sound on Perfect View is fuller and more polished than its predecessor, the drums—especially the kick drum—have a much deeper sound to them and the songs are thicker.
“Perfect View” employs a Sweet Dreams style gothic synth melody with a faster tempo while house-style keyboards wash over it. “Kirsten” utilizes a brighter, bouncy keyboard line while an industrial, metal scrap beat and cold synthesizers swirl underneath. The song starts out interesting enough but over a five-minute span the track proceeds to go nowhere. “Another Day” has Latin style conga percussion entwined with a straightforward snare-kick and 4/4 rhythm that gives the song a little bit of funk without detracting from the overall vibe of the music. “End” is a completely pointless exercise and sounds like someone messing around with the shiny new synthesizer they just bought from Guitar Center. It’s a one-minute track that really couldn’t even be called an interlude because it consists of random sounding keyboard strokes and some muffled chatter. The track hardly qualifies as filler and at only nine songs, the album really shouldn’t have any filler at all. “Breaking Silence” is the most memorable track on the album as Norrvide’s singing carries a hint of melody. However, the track repeats itself over and over and what should be hypnotic, without any instrumental builds or dynamics, just ends up meandering.
Although the layers of sounds within each song are well arranged, the sounds themselves aren’t very original and each song generally sounds similar to the last. Every non-instrumental song has Norrvide yelling out either one line or several lines of lyrics repeatedly in a flat, toneless voice. The vocal performances are so similar that you could easily cut and paste them from one song to another without even noticing. For Norrvide, this album is all about concentrating on ambience but in doing so he doesn’t pay enough attention to the songs themselves. Most are simply undercooked and don’t go anywhere. With a few exceptions, the songs lack the melodic hooks necessary to hold the attention of the listener throughout an entire album. That’s not to say that this music needs any sort of big choruses as that is certainly not the point. However, aside from a few songs on the album, most just don’t have enough to hang on to. The Flaming Lips’ newest album, The Terror, is an exercise in slow, meditative soundscapes, but the sounds are dynamic enough to engage the listener throughout the entirety of the record. While Perfect View isn’t a bad album, it doesn’t do enough to distinguish itself from the pack of dark wave synth acts with an infatuation for the early ‘80s that have come about in recent years.