Nzca Lines, the project of producer and multi-instrumentalist, Michael Lovett, has released his third album, Pure Luxury, via Memphis Industries. Produced almost entirely by Lovett and written between London, New York and Los Angeles, where he found himself present for some key UK and US political and social moments, this release has a focus on anxiety-inducing world events. This follow-up to 2016’s Infinite Summer is a combination of synth-pop and R’n’B grooves, sound glitches, and refined vocals.
Taking the name from the Peruvian geoglyphs, Nzca Lines is the solo venture for Lovett who has previously played guitar/synthesiser on Christine and the Queens’ recorded material and also performed as part of Metronomy. His previous two LPs has seen Lovett opening for the likes of Conan Mockasin and Django Django as well as performing at Glastonbury Festival. Once you connect with this album, this back history falls into place.
Real Good Time, the second single on the album lays a funk bass, possessing darker vibes, as Lovett channels concerns about agricultural chemicals and overpopulation with a demented chorus of pitchshifted vocals – “It’s too late to save the bride / I guess she’ll just get buried alive / in waterfalls of pesticide / or gently suffocated by the groom / I just remembered how we die / I saw it on TV one time / But I guess we’ll just keep multiplying”. The cynicism along with those grooves produces a darker track than you initially imagine. Just give it a few listens. Pure Luxury, title track and opener, was however inspired by Lovett’s experience of a Manhattan heatwave in February and is a response to the notions of pursuing material gain in the face of environmental catastrophe, indulging in our present dystopia, embellishing the worst of this world.
On Pure Luxury there are tracks that explore the climate crisis (Larsen, a break-up track namely, the breaking up of the Larsen C ice shelf in 2017), the frustrations of video communication within relationships, the breakdown of relationships, this album is the most blunt and exploratory of Lovett’s work. Tonight Is All That Really Matters is a track that considers that there may not be long left as we exist in our present dystopia, and Prisoner of Love has all the makings of a Chromeo twostep.
Opening Night, however, is a personal stand out, those sound glitches, that bass, and falsetto vocals all merge to create this upbeat groovy track, with all the exciting vibes of an opening night, a reminder of events, long gone from all of our calendars.
Pure Luxury is the juxtaposition of groove and dystopia, synth pop and crisis-times, but it’s NZCA Lines most notable work to date. Out on Memphis Industries, it’s out now.