Lust for Youth's Compassion is danceable and hypnotizing, to the point where their songs' clichés of mystery and jealousy become erased in the trance.
On the track "Better Looking Brother", vocalist Hannes Norrvide performs a part akin to a ringmaster. He announces to the titular sibling that he has a part to play tonight. The soundtrack has that sombre, Depeche Mode-like tone that has made Lust for Youth stand out from similar bands. One senses a reluctance within this fifth album of theirs, but nothing is compromised by its slow approach. If anything, Compassion is a release that's danceable and hypnotizing, to the point where clichés of mystery and jealousy become erased in the trance.
Slowness becomes the depth that gives meaning to the album's title. When springing New Order-like electronics, Lust for Youth etch stars into the night at a snail's pace. In a sense, the band achieve a meditative state that leaves behind human necessities. Their tempos never feel too commonplace within the context of an album, mostly due to their hypnotizing effects and ability to allow listeners to join in on a collective daze. The art of Compassion becomes how long it can keep people away from their troubles before reality flashes back through its glimmers of hope.
The haunting droopiness of the vocals are truly effective. Plummeting from heaven becomes akin to a blissful free fall rather than something fear-eliciting. "Stardom", though initially feeling like a conveyor belt readying listeners for a faux cybernetic future, allows one to float along the skyline, making the words "All around life flows free / From you into me" seem like a promise with an ultimatum-like grasp. Electronic lines become the stars to the pitch black night, while strings bring an arbitrary nature to the embodiment of peace.
When peace and beautiful nights are switched for an almost hopeless void, Lust for Youth still retain their gravity. "Display" remedies string-related issues by having them contain the sheen of something from a wild western. This negates their filler nature amidst electronic whistles and bass notes that feel empty of true compassion. Lust for Youth play the angel and devil on one's shoulders without realizing how malicious or hopeful they sound.
The band want to attain the most genuine of feelings, trying their hardest to avoid artificiality. Small mistakes such as the all-too clean brass within "Tokyo" are forgivable because they attempt something fresh. Even the tension-cutting, yet incredibly short, vocal sample used in "Easy Window" does not a bad song make. In their hopeless states, the band effortlessly hypnotize. When "Limerence" constructs its mysterious woman, both listeners and the band are hopelessly stuck within a honey trap.
When Norrvide sings "Let me see her..." everyone loses touch with themselves and reach out to another in desperation. Its striking nature is how such a brilliant song allows one to dance in their lunacy. However, when the aqueous "Sudden Ambitions" comes to the fray with its small glimmer of hope, it allows one to wake up from their seemingly repetitive electronic daze and see that such a track lacks lyrical and sonic depth.
This revelation doesn't necessarily mean that complexities become unraveled when one slips past the elegant trances posited through Lust for Youth's combined instrumentality. "Better Looking Brother" combines the best of hopeless and hopeful by becoming a track that the '80s would have adored, had it come from such a decade. Every string lines up properly with each bit of electronic glory, while the air of jealousy carves its way through the curtain.
Lyrically, the track is limited, yet it holds itself together for a surprisingly dance-filled seven-minutes. It truly becomes a highlight that deserves whatever praise it gets, taking influence from the darker shades of electronic groups in a way that feels more like a tribute to the era of Depeche Mode and New Order.
Even with the cop-out dream pop closer of "In Return" tarnishing what could be a great record, Lust for Youth's Compassion treats its influences with the care that realizes the importance of going beyond such a sound rather than completely imitating it.