Lust for Youth

Scandinavian post-punks Lust For Youth embrace pop

CALGARY — It may be the case that the fondness Northern Europeans have for electronic music is all down to the climate. Much like Canada, for half the year the weather is miserable enough to confine the population indoors, moving between heated apartment complexes to office blocks to shopping malls in boxy, efficient cars. Technology isn’t just a fact of life in Sweden, where Lust for Youth was founded; it’s what makes life possible. In the grim Northern English cities where much of what became ‘synth-pop’ (roughly speaking Lust for Youth’s genre, at least on their most recent record, 2014’s International) originated, the only good things in the lives of the members of New Order (from Manchester) or The Human League (Sheffield) were televisions, record players and later, synthesizers.

For Hannes Norrvide, for two albums the band’s sole member, the decision to avoid acoustic ‘rock’ instruments was simple.

“It’s fun to work with synthesizers and electronic instruments and see what kind of sounds you can come up with.”

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Catholic Girls

Calgary’s Catholic Girls are dirty, spooky, soulful synth-punk personified

CALGARY — “Being in a band is like being in a marriage,” says Erin Jenkins, guitarist and vocalist in Catholic Girls.

“The first part is all fun and puppy-dog love, eventually you move out of that phase and have to work at keeping the magic alive.”

“The magic” being dirty, spooky, soulful synth-punk with a heavy debt to goth and waves both new and dark. Calgary’s very own Catholic Girls, three quarters of whom are boys, might be too young to remember much of the ‘80s, but they’ve got the decade’s queasy mix of populism and idiosyncrasy down. Since forming two years ago from members of just about every Calgary band that wasn’t Tegan and Sara, they have released two EPs of first rate synth-punk: 2014’s Sheila Joined a Cult, which was heavy on the punk, and the excellent April release Psychic Woman, in which the synths come to the forefront.

 

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