Release Date: Jan 22, 2016
Record label: Memphis Industries
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
NZCA LINES are back - and this time, there’s three of them. Originally the brainchild of Michael Lovett, the ranks have swelled to encompass Charlotte Hatherley, former guitarist with Ash, and Sarah Jones, who brings serious electro-pop credentials, having played with NYPC and Hot Chip. 2012’s eponymous LP made waves. Remember the minimal, mercurially delicate sound of “Compass Points”, and the brooding, voyeuristic “Okinawa Channels”? The later track stands as testament to Lovett’s skill as a songwriter, if only for the fact he managed to make reading out a misdialed phone number seem strangely sexy.
It’s may have been a while since you thought about NZCA Lines. After starting to find success with his brilliant debut album, Michael Lovett seemed to disappear just as he was starting to gain traction. His brand of Eighties synth-pop seemed to be the refined answer to the turn of the decades batch of bands mixing squelchy synths and punk ideals. NZCA Lines was always sleeker than the likes of Klaxons and CSS, like Lovett had taken all the synths and disco basslines to an underground club in Berlin instead of an East London boozer.
2015’s been a spectacular year of music - but where’s our goddamn hoverboards? Unlike eighties time-travel blockbusters, the sequel to NZCA Lines’ self-titled 2012 debut doesn’t fall under the shadow of the first hit; ‘Infinite Summer’ is a cinematic escapade all of its own. The once solo Michael Lovett has recruited guitarist Charlotte Hatherley (Bat For Lashes, Ash) and drummer Sarah Jones (Hot Chip) for his latest outing, and you can immediately see why. From scene-setter ‘Approach’ to scene-stealer ‘How Long Does It Take’, the gauntlet’s been slammed down.
Londoner Michael Lovett, also know as NZCA Lines, has returned with his second album and his first release on the stellar Memphis Industries, home to the likes of Dutch Uncles and Outfit. Expanding the NZCA Lines lineup to include Hot Chip's Sarah Jones and Charlotte Hatherley, known for her work with Bat for Lashes, has allowed Lovett to develop his project into a musical powerhouse. On Infinite Summer, the band focus their sound into atmospheric synth pop, but it's not without journeys into quirkier realms — check the twin guitar solos on "How Long Does It Take" and the French monologue that introduces opener "Approach.
"Skinny, white, 20-something, male Londoner who studied at Camberwell College of Arts does pitch-perfect soulful R&B-pop crossover." Few sentences could be more of a turn-off, more eye-roll inducing, and yet...well, you see where I'm going with this. The rating out of 10 should give you a clue as to the level of aplomb with which Michael Lovett pulls this off on his second album. .
If NZCA Lines' sleekly poignant sound is familiar, it's understandable: Their music evokes decades of London electro-pop, from Scritti Politti to Hot Chip and Metronomy (NZCA Lines' leader, Michael Lovett, was a touring member of the latter group). Lovett distilled synth-driven heartache into a streamlined ideal on NZCA Lines' self-titled debut, but on its follow-up, he and new members Charlotte Hatherley and Sarah Jones (also of Hot Chip) go big. The band's name, which refers to the famed Peruvian geoglyphs, reflects Lovett's fascination with the mysterious and majestic, qualities that define Infinite Summer's central concept: Far in the future, Earth's sun is a red giant and with the end of the world nearing, half the population embraces destruction while the other half tries to rebuild civilization.
Following up 2012’s self-titled debut, NCZA Lines’s Michael Lovett is this time joined by singer-songwriter Charlotte Hatherley and Hot Chip drummer Sarah Jones for an eccentric but accessible effort. If Michael’s last record drew its influences from across the Atlantic and R&B powerhouses like Timbaland, this time he’s got his focus fixed skywards and, while this 12-track set clearly comes from a Hoxton state of mind, there’s a liberated imagination running riot here. Lead single Persephone Dreams fuses electro-pop riffs with steel drums to pleasing effect, but was largely overlooked on release in October.