If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past two years, you’d be pretty familiar with Copenhagen, Denmark-based electro pop trio, Lust For Youth as I’ve written about them a handful of times in that period. The project can trace its origins to when it began as the solo recording project of its founding member Hannes Norvide. Interestingly enough, Norvide has publicly described the project’s early sound and aesthetic as “dark, cold, atonal, lonely, tormented” and “lower than lo-fi.”After recruiting longtime collaborator Loke Rahbek and Malthe Fisher (guitar and production), the project went through a radical change in sonic direction that eventually resulted in their full-length debut effort International, which was released to international praise and attention for a sound that compared favorably to the likes of Depeche Mode, The Pet Shop Boys , The Human League and New Order. Certainly, if you were a child of the 80s or came of age in the 80s, it’s a sound and aesthetic that’s warmly familiar — and nostalgia inducing, for sure.
Last September, I wrote about “Better Looking Brother,” the first single off the Danish electro pop trio’s forthcoming sophomore effort Compassion, slated for a March 18 release through Sacred Bones Records. And much like the material off International, “Better Looking Brother” further cemented the trio’s international profile for melancholic synth pop that was dance floor ready in a way that was reminiscent of In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and New Order– while expressing ambivalence, heartache and jealousy within a particularly dysfunctional relationship. Compassion‘s latest single “Sudden Ambition” sonically speaking bears an uncanny resemblance to early Depeche Mode and New Order as layers of shimmering and undulating synths are paired with propulsive drum programming, equally shimmering guitar chords bubbling from an icy surface, swirling electronics and Norvide’s aching vocals singing lyrics focusing on an relationship and on a life that are both in limbo — partially our of the narrator’s neurosis and his inability to make a decisive decision, no matter how painful. And yet, despite the mournful and regretful air of the song, it’s a propulsive and shimmering dance floor ready track.
Directed by Frederik Valentin, the recently released music video was filmed with a hand-held camera and depicts scenes of Copenhagen’s Amager neighborhood — a high school swim practice, Valentin’s younger producer modeling Posh Isolation gear, kayakers gracefully rowing in tandem and cameos from the members of Lust For Youth hanging about. “Everything was filmed in our local neighborhood, Amager, Copenhagen, it’s a quiet place, no fancy cafes or shops. Near the airport but far away from the world,” Valentin says in press notes, and as a result it gives the video a surreal quality in which it’s based in the mundane aspects of daily life but it feels like being gently awoken from a dream. Where does the dream end and the reality begin? Or maybe “between our dreams and our actions lie this world,” as Bruce Springsteen once sang — and the video seems to suggest that weird quality of our own lives.