The ten years since Hannes Norrvide first made music under the Lust for Youth moniker has seen a steady erosion of the darkness in the music, replaced instead by artsy iciness and synthesised superficiality. 2011’s debut album Solar Flare was beholden to the beats of early Sisters of Mercy, the keyboard sounds of Kraftwerk, Ian Curtis style vocals and some elemental drone components, which combined to supplant the melodies which existed deep within the mix. With each subsequent album release, and with the addition of Malte Fischer to the band, Lust for Youth have moved away from the darker side of their identity and embraced the lighter new wave synth sounds of artist such as Depeche Mode, The Human League and New Order.

‘New Balance Point’, the opening track of their new self-titled album, is a pessimistic jibe at people who “never fail to disappoint” and who “never once proved selfless.” The track focuses on the dying embers of a relationship which needs closure, and the lyrics provide a list of realisations, a dawning of understanding away from an overly romanticised version of coupling. There is a bittersweet quality to the music which reinforces an idea that this newfound balance point brings a sense of painful melancholy with it. This is not a triumphant break-up song, but a track imbued with a sense of resentment towards a union which has been long dead. Despondency is a theme which permeates across the album’s eight tracks, and even though Lust for Youth have moved away from the goth/darkwave elements of their sound their lyrical themes remain consistent.

‘Insignificant’ comes across like Britpop also-rans Gene had they aped A Flock of Seagulls. It starts with a keyboard riff reminiscent of Daft Punk’s ‘One More Time’ before an insistent 4/4 drum beat and synth bassline take over. The track grows, drops, swells, builds and pauses and is the standout track on the album as a whole. The last two minutes build to an enthralling crescendo of tense neo-futurist keyboards and a nagging, shoegaze style guitar line which is drenched in distortion and perfectly placed in the mix. It sounds like little known noise-gazers Belong (whose Common Era album is a marginalised masterpiece of sonic wonder). This melting pot of styles and influences really shouldn’t work, but it does, and magnificently so.

Unfortunately, Lust for Youth can’t sustain the trajectory of the album established by the first two tracks and often veer into pastiche all too readily. ‘Venus De Milo’ is forgettable and sounds like Fischerspooner coughing up a Yazoo encrusted furball. It just plods along in an overly serene, pleased-with-itself kind of way which brings the mood down too far. ‘Great Concerns’ shifts the gear upwards and mashes New Order with the Thompson Twins in a pleasing enough manner. Its lyrics focus on the political and ecological climate without being overly preachy. The apathy of others is central to the song’s narrative and exasperation at the rise of the far right and climate change deniers is touched upon. It manages to re-establish the trajectory lost by ‘Venus De Milo’ but falls a little flat in terms of the triumphalism of the music in relation to the downbeat lyrics.

There is a more ethereal tone to ‘Fifth Terrace’, with vocals that echo Let’s Eat Grandma or aspects of CocoRosie, while a Cure-style bassline and guitars chime away merrily in the background. It’s more reflective in pace than what has gone before and highlights Lust for Youth’s range of songwriting capabilities, before ‘Adrift’ re-establishes the 80s pop tone in emphatic fashion. It’s the most direct song here and its urgency is contagious as it pulses, beeps and expands in all the right places. It’s something of a banger.

The last two tracks fall short which is frustrating. ‘Imola’ is an ambient-style track with a Romanian female spoken word narration which is concerned with the racing driver Ayrton Senna. It’s an oddity – not altogether unpleasant – but just doesn’t sit well on the album as a whole. ‘By No Means’ closes things out but by this point we have already heard as many pure 80s synth pop inflections as we can handle in one go without just putting Dare on.

The brevity of Lust For Youth is an issue, particularly as the eight songs fail to fully bond together, so the end result is a little too disjointed and the album overall suffers from a lack of flow, immediacy and purposeful direction. There are some good tunes here, of that there is no doubt, but it feels a little flat as a body of work.