Lungfish frontman Daniel Higgs once described his band’s music by saying, “If you’ve never heard the song before, after several seconds you have heard the song, and it’s gonna do that for a few more minutes.” Anyone who has ever heard Lungfish should understand this pretty well — they open with a riff, hit a groove, and use that repetition to build their minimal punk style into hypnotic art-rock transcendence. Sweden’s Lust For Youth don’t have that much in common with Lungfish, aesthetically — they use synths rather than guitars, and Hannes Norrvide’s vocals tend to blend into the atmosphere of Lust For Youth’s music, rather than hold court on top of it. Yet the two artists essentially build their songs in a similar manner: A melody begins, and once it gets going, it doesn’t stop. Vocals enter the frame, some elements may fade out, but in essence, after several seconds you have heard the song, and it’s gonna do that for a few minutes.
With roots in early, synth-based post-punk and coldwave, Lust For Youth keeps to a minimal set of elements and milks them for all they can. How appealing that sounds probably depends on how much affection you, as a listener, have for dark, gothic analog synth sounds and effects-laden vocals, disappearing into a reverb- and delay-addled ether. Yet Norrvide manages to do a lot — or at least conjure the illusion of doing a lot — with very little. Each of the songs on second album Perfect View comprises little more than a melody line, a bassline, a fairly simple beat, and either vocals or samples of vocals. That’s about it.
Within a fairly simple framework, however, Norrvide finds new approaches and avenues to explore. A laughing woman’s voice blends in with Norrvide’s own deadpan chants on opener “I Found Love,” an etheric, pulsating introduction to Lust For Youth’s shadowy underworld. The decidedly more accessible “Breaking Silence” bears a passing resemblance to early Depeche Mode, while “Another Day” bounces with vibrant club appeal. And that’s more or less how the album progresses, with different shades of gray and black, and the occasional punctuation of light-hearted found sound. Perfectly enjoyable in small doses, Perfect View is the sort of record that makes more sense either live or on a DJ’s turntable. It’s nice enough to listen to, but seems like the kind of thing that needs to actually be felt to leave its proper mark.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.