PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Lust for Youth: Compassion

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.

Lust for Youth


Label: Sacred Bones
US Release Date: 2016-03-18
UK Release Date: 2016-03-18

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.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.


The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.


'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.


'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.


The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.


Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.


15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.


'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.