With their self-titled fifth album, Lust for Youth continue refining the bouncy yet poignant synth pop they introduced on International. Now down to the duo of Hannes Norrvide and Malthe Fischer, they lift some of the clouds that shadowed their previous album Compassion in favor of a brighter, smoother approach. As on their previous two albums, Norrvide and Fischer still imbue their well-worn '80s influences with more skill and personality than many of their like-minded contemporaries. "Insignificant" finds them at their most danceable, yet the jaunty flute, hints of filter disco, and sweeping guitars that grace the track elevate it beyond a retro pastiche. As much as Lust for Youth's sound has changed over the years, Norrvide's equally heartbroken and sardonic viewpoint endures, and the putdowns that bookend the album are among its strongest moments. "You never failed to disappoint," he sings over glassy pizzicato synths on "New Balance Point," the intricately detailed breakdown of a breakup that begins Lust for Youth; "By No Means" closes it with scathing lyrics like "a compliment from you would insult me," which brims with the kind of snideness that can only come from heartbreak. Just when the album feels like it might be getting too polished and predictable, Lust for Youth balances its ultra-poppy first half with more impressionistic tracks. Norrvide and Fischer's friend Soho Rezanejad lends some of the depth of her own music with her guest vocals on "Fifth Terrace," one of the first times the duo lets the album's veneer subside. Later, Ana Ivan's spoken word cameo on "Imola" adds to its respite from Lust for Youth's often relentless beats, while "Adrift" combines the album's hookiness with expansive passages that evoke the textural experiments of the project's early days. While Lust for Youth proves that the duo is among the best acts updating synth pop for the 21st century, it also suggests that it might be time for Norrvide and Fischer to broaden their horizons once more.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares