The debut from the Gothenberg act Lust for Youth – essentially the alias of one Hannes Norvide – feels like it’s set deep inside some ice cave in the outer reaches of the uninhabited arctic. The synths are as chilly and rigid as stalactites, and Norvide’s voice – a crude, teenage-Robert Smith holler – bounces up from somewhere deep, dark and unseen.
The minimalism is as much a pragmatic matter as an aesthetic one: Norvide recorded the album in his bedroom on borrowed equipment, and the record doesn’t waste time with unnecessary flourishes. The songs are built on fat, steel-cold synth bars and usually consist of little more than a drum track and a single melody line. Sonically, it rivals the primitivism of early minimalists like The Normal, but it feels bleaker and more nihilistic. That such relentlessly despondent sounds were inspired by, to quote Norvide directly, “new love,” feels like some philosophy major’s perverse joke.
Growing Seeds refuses to acknowledge the existence of any notes on the Casio above middle C. “Always Changing” chugs robotically, like a runaway train in a Westworld outtake, and “It’s You” sounds like “Blue Monday” played on a Speak & Spell – both using big, blocky notes as blue as the numbers on a digital calculator. Despite its title, “We Got Lust” is almost defiantly sexless – Norvide emotionlessly reading off lyrics like they’re some kind of expressionist haiku as a primitive keyboard jerks and lurches like a Murnau zombie in the foreground. If this is Norvide in love, imagine his idea of a breakup album.