According to Londoner Michael Lovett, his debut album as NZCA/Lines draws inspiration from US R&B star Aaliyah and Italian postmodern author Italo Calvino, not to mention the Peruvian geoglyphs after which he named his band – but none of that information is necessary to enjoy this short but perfectly formed synth-pop record. In contrast to so much hazy electronic pop floating around at the moment, the melodies here are full-bodied and the production, on standouts such as "Compass Points", is clean and precise. The only problem with this little gem of an album is that there isn't more of it.
Michael Lovett, the young Londonder who is NZCA/Lines, has said his desire is to create a solo, British version of the collaborations between the producer Timbaland and the singer Aaliyah that transformed R&B in the late 90s. He hasn't managed that. In fact, the dance ensemble of the past he most closely resembles is Freez, the 80s Brit-electro act: he has got a similarly sexless falsetto and clean synthesiser lines.
In the shiny pop utopia of my more fervid imaginings, there's a sweet spot triangulated from Man Machine and Computer World-era Kraftwerk, Scritti Politti (from any damn era) and Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto's 'Forbidden Colours' (and you could square it with NZCA labelmate Susumu Yokota). Because pop should be/is a place of magic where dreams come true, there is NZCA/LINES – a debut so exquisitely tooled I cannot find a thing wrong with it. If the word weren't so open to misinterpretation, I'd call it perfect.
A sleek synthetic sound driven by a heart of human loneliness and longing. Reef Younis 2012 Seduced by psychology, spirituality, science fiction, Peruvian geoglyphs and forward-thinking RnB production, Michael Lovett’s arrival at gossamer synths-laden electro pop is a pleasing surprise amidst such eclecticism. Born out of a growing tiredness with guitar music and partly inspired by a healthy fascination with Aaliyah, his lustrous pop take on honeyed bump and grind is a blissful amalgamation of disparity.