It's not an overstatement to say that International was a huge step forward for Lust for Youth: As Hannes Norrvide's solo project became a trio, his introspection moved from underneath headphones onto the dancefloor. The moves Norrvide and company make on Compassion are smaller, but just as significant. Having found a niche within euphoric dance music and goth brooding, this time Lust for Youth look inward in a way that could have only happened after making International. Some of that album's crispness softens on these songs, giving way to a vulnerability that reflects the trio's growing assurance. The way Lust for Youth slows down and bares its collective heart only adds to Compassion's majesty: As Norrvide sings about "all the lovers out there" over a rising tide of synths, "Stardom" plays like a prologue, drawing listeners into the album's lovelorn world. Even the grandest moments retain Lust for Youth's unique intimacy, which feels equally at home in a crowd or a bedroom. The seven-and-a-half-minute-long single "Better Looking Brother" sets jealousy and closeness to a kinetic beat; when Norrvide sings "you have a part to play tonight," it feels like both a thrill and a comedown. Compassion expresses the dance between joy and despair at the heart of Lust for Youth's music even more eloquently than International, thanks to its more fully developed songs. "Limerence" -- named for a term for intense, unrequited love -- might be the most quintessentially Lust for Youth song yet, a bright but bittersweet meditation on someone so near yet so far that, along with the heartbroken synth pop of "Sudden Ambitions," shows how much their songwriting chops have grown. Likewise, gauzy interludes such as "Easy Window" and "In Return" feel even better integrated as they enhance and balance Compassion's more attention-getting moments. It all makes for a heartfelt, satisfying whole that reaffirms Lust for Youth as one of the few bands reinterpreting the '80s that can rival and surpass its influences as well as its contemporaries.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares