Published Jul 09, 2020It's clear that NZCA LINES motherboard Michael Lovett draws inspiration from many high places. His third album Pure Luxury is busy yet balanced, drawing from a diverse and sensual set of influences. The result is time-travelling "smart-pop" that borrows a little something from each of the last three decades of the 20th century. It has the sensibilities of disco, the dripping wet bass of '80s pop, and the hushed falsettos of '90s R&B.
The flexibility of Pure Luxury is responsible for some of its best moments. The lush melodies are reminiscent of Metronomy, whom Lovett tours with as a synth player. It also borrows a little here and there from psych, which acts as the great balancer. In bonafide dance songs like "Real Good Time," the droning synth break is what keeps the song moving. "Larsen" is the only song on the record that brings the guitar forward, but because of this, it can afford to play with complex timing without being too gratuitous.
While the last two NZCA LINES albums were apocalyptic concept pieces, this project focuses on the present. The title track "Pure Luxury" describes consumerism and greed through a thinly veiled mask of irony. The message and its presentation are on the nose, with oversized credit cards as a dance prop in the music video. This materialism embodies the album's bourgeois chic feel. It's an album you'd hear while using your own credit card as a prop at Nordstrom. Subtlety isn't NZCA LINES' strong suit, but it doesn't have to be. (Memphis Industries)