Harnessing the perfect marriage of sci-fi and synthesizers, is the mellifluous ‘Infinite Summer’; a record eclipsing NZCA Lines / Michael Lovett’s former works with the expeditious use of propulsive beats, sparkling keys and his typically introverted vocals.
The voyage throughout Lovett’s dystopian universe begins with the wavering strings and brassy synth stabs of opener ‘Approach’, alongside a silky-smooth French monologue portraying a vast desert. While both cinematic and endless, the landscape feels lonely and desolate - merely a refraction of the melancholy to come.
Spanning across the whole offering is this sense of dread amidst beauty, “based around the idea of a far-future Earth, where the sun has expanded to the size of a red giant and our extinction is imminent” (according to Lovett).
This metaphor is presented most eloquently during ‘Dark Horizon’. Its Daft Punk-esque funk is so exquisite it may as well be the soundtrack to coasting rooftop-open across a sun-bleached French Riviera at dusk. But just as you think its title seems meaningless a lovesick Sarah Jones (drummer, also member of Hot Chip) warbles “I feel that time is running out for us”, casting doubtful shadows across relations and humanity itself.
Showcasing the album’s universal potential is the woozily maximalist ‘Persephone Dreams’ and dancefloor banger ‘Two Hearts’ – both featuring restless Metronomy-style synth-squawks. It’s Lovett’s long-standing affiliation with this band (live performer during ‘Love Letters’ tour and brother to ex-Metronomy bassist Gabriel Stebbing) that helps us link an array of similar influences between the two. But if Joe Mount’s latest LP was characterised by dusty lo-fi keyboards, archaic drum pre-sets and quaint one-finger solos then this is anything but. ‘Infinite Summer’ is space opera in its least confined and most galactic fashion.
Pleasingly, there are curveball tracks proving this issue if not just another homage to retro electronica. ‘How Long Does It Take’ includes the very shredding OTT guitars that NZCA’s self-titled debut appears to defy. Whilst the sweet, palate cleansing breezy-pop of ‘Jessica’ is a blast from the past to Lovett and Stebbing’s previous project - ‘Your Twenties’. Parking buzzing analogues in favour of clunky drums and Fleetwood Mac-shaped harmonies, it reveals new and exciting territories in Lovett’s repertoire.
The apocalyptic album concept is wrapped up during euphoric album finale ‘The World You Have Made For Us’; its profound ending lyric “how long / how long / will we wait for a minute before it’s lost?” suggesting the supernova of this future-earth was blatantly preventable, if not for the ignorance of its past inhabitants.
A more immersive, majestic and ultimately engaging release than album one. Don’t expect ‘Infinite Summer’ to gravitate the commercial stardom of genre-spearheads Phoenix and Hot Chip, but while Lovett continues to shoot for the moon NZCA will orbit ever closer.
Words: Jordan Foster
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