NZCA LINES return with new album Infinite Summer, which will be released on January 22, 2016. It will be the first release for their new label home Memphis Industries (Poliça, Field Music, Dutch Uncles).
The follow up to 2012’s well-received self-titled album, Infinite Summer sees main man Michael Lovett joined by Charlotte Hatherley (Bat For Lashes, Ash) and Sarah Jones (Hot Chip), to create a record that marries sci-fi futurism to personal intimacies.
Since NZCA LINES’ debut record, Lovett has finished an illustration degree, directed the video for last year’s single “New Atmosphere” – a statement of intent for Infinite Summer and the first glimpse of his fictional Cairo-Athens, a giant city of monuments, ennui and 24 hour parties – as well as honing his skills in the studio with Christine & The Queens and touring as part of Metronomy‘s live band.
Recorded over the last two years with Charlie Alex March (Veronica Falls) as studio co-conspirator, and mixed by David Newfeld (Broken Social Scene, Super Furry Animals), Infinite Summer is an emotional and dark LP, refracting Lovett’s personal life through the guise of a concept album. Influenced by the likes of Arthur C. Clarke, Brian Aldiss, J.G. Ballard, Clifford Simak and Philip K. Dick, Lovett explains further, “The album is 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. Half of the world is covered by a city [Cairo-Athens] that clings to the past and embraces its destruction, whilst the other half is trying to rebuild, create and make something new. Yet, it’s good on both sides because it’s warm everywhere and people just party most of the time.”
Musically, Michael looked to Daft Punk (Discovery/Interstella 5555), Sebastien Tellier, Genesis (Lamb Lies Down on Broadway-era), and Prince – and bringing Hatherley and Jones on board was a natural step for Lovett as he pushed to evolve the NZCA LINES sound. Despite the new, larger line up, Infinite Summer is a more intimate and refined record; during the initial songwriting process, March challenged Lovett to create tracks that boiled down to piano chords and one vocal however elaborate the final production would end up been.
Reflecting these Gallic influences, Infinite Summer opens with “Approach” with its French narration describing the edge of Cairo-Athens, a barren desert, beyond which, lies only mysteries and half-forgotten places and sets the cinematic tone of the album. The expansive “Persephone Dreams” follows, a propulsive slice of epic electro-pop that climaxes with dueling steel drums (by Fimber Bravo, of 20th Century Steel Band) and shredding guitar. “Persephone Dreams” is about the memory of love from a distance, with Lovett singing “If only the wind slowed down, I’d feel you were here somehow, It carries me back, Straight into you” before taking a darker, more possessive mood with the refrain: “Do you really want it all to change? Only when I’ve been counting the hours here waiting for you.”
The record unfurls through brooding, sensual beats, dazzling synths and melancholic vocals that take you on a different journey on every track. While “Infinite Summer” and “Do It Better’”focus on the idea of an enlarged sun that would bring us joy and terror, there are glimmers of Lovett’s personal life running throughout. “Two Hearts” is perhaps the most telling of Lovett’s actual reality, having begun a new relationship in 2013, one based around distance, the feelings that arise from that situation mirror some of the frustrations of living on this far-future Earth.
Framed by its loose concept, Infinite Summer’s hyper melodicism sees NZCA LINES explore stellar new territories that position them as one of 2016 most enticing and rewarding prospects.