LUST FOR YOUTH
Moth Club, London
22 April 2016
The front of the stage at Hackney’s Moth Club is the flame drawing in London’s bright young things. There are Hungarian, Polish and Italian fans pressed together, absorbing the dark wave throbs of a Danish band led by a Swede — if the UK is going to leave the European Union, then surely shows like this will be a casualty of the new politics. Then who would be left in the capital to mutter into the darkness over pulsing electronics? Answer us that, Boris Johnson.
The act holding Europe together on this evening is Lust for Youth. A project started by Hannes Norrvide in Gothenburg, way back in in 2009, the L4Y template took form with doom-laden electronic sounds and growled vocals (“Another Night”). Within a short time, Norrvide had relocated to Denmark and absorbed pop sensibilities, even if his Psyche-influenced roots are still evident. The current L4Y release, Compassion, shows a wider range of influences that most of the audience would regard as distant history: “Sudden Ambition” sits somewhere between Depeche Mode’s “But Not Tonight” and “Hold Me Now” by Thompson Twins, while “Better Looking Brother” arguably owes something to New Order’s “Thieves Like Us.” These are just reference points, however, as Norrvide’s style is imbued with greater tension and angst than these precedents.
On stage, L4Y includes a hooded producer, Malte Fisher, on guitar and Loke Rahbek on keyboards. Through a cloud of Euro-sweat, rising from a sell-out crowd of jumping 20-somethings, they deliver a set that includes the sinister electro of “Chasing the Light,” “Illume” from the formidable International release, and most of the Compassion album. The new material really comes to life in performance, and the magnificent “Stardom” has a large section of the crowd singing back to Norrvide in their own accents.
A great surprise was the appearance of First Hate, another Danish-based electronic outfit, in the support slot. Influences from the godfathers of dark wave, Psyche, can be found in their songs, too, but their energetic performance was far from being derivative. “Trojan Horse,” the stand-out track from their first EP, “The Mind of a Gemini,” was a great lead-in for the headliners:
The UK might want to leave the EU, but access to music of this quality needs to be a key point in negotiations.