There’s a classic Mary Whitehouse Experience (ask your parents kids) sketch from 1992 poking fun at the band Shakespear’s Sister, in which a pleasant piece of music is suddenly hijacked by godawful foghorn vocals. I hadn’t thought about it for years, probably not since it was broadcast in fact, until I heard ‘Stardom’, the opening track of Swedish synthpoppers’ Lust For Youth‘s second album Compassion.
Scandinavian electronica you say? Moody, melancholy late-night synth-noir a la Lescop or Junior Boys? Bring it on! But then suddenly in come Hannes Norrvide’s tuneless, flat vocals and my lust for Lust For Youth is immediately killed stone dead.
And sadly for the album as a whole, ‘Stardom’ is one of its better tracks, the rest being for the most part plodding, unimaginative 80s-inspired synthpop rendered virtually unlistenable by those vocals. ‘Better Looking Brother’ briefly breaks the torpor by upping the BPM and actually sounding as if the people who made it give a shit, but ultimately it still sounds like the work of Malmo’s fourth best Depeche Mode tribute band.
The spoken word dirge of closing track ‘In Return’ reaches its welcome end, and, sighing, I delete the album from my laptop, suddenly questioning my previously unshakable faith in the perfection of Swedish electropop.