Sunday, October 18, 2020

NZCA LINES album review - Pure Luxury

NZCA LINES' opulent new album Pure Luxury is a fantastically written and aesthetically engaging blend of tracks that provides compelling political perspectives underneath lighthearted stereo pans and synths.

 NZCA LINES’ Michael Lovett is no stranger to using 80’s style synthesisers, which can be heard in all 3 of his albums, having made “synth sounds and generally helping out” on Christine and the Queens 2014 album Chaleur Humaine

Released with Memphis Industries, Pure Luxury is an amalgamation of experimentation and frustration; track topics range from love to politics, with the backing instrumentals of each song giving no clue to its thematic content. The Pure Luxury album features a mix of upbeat indie disco tracks interspersed with some slower tempo pieces such as ‘Primp & Shine’, ‘Take this Apart’, and ‘For your Love’ which prevent the album from becoming too repetitive amongst the distorted vocals and swift bass lines. 

Larsen, a piece written about the melting Larsen C ice shelf, was written whilst NZCA LINES was living in New York during the women’s march. The musician was inspired to write about the current events that impassioned him. The music was intentionally upbeat to be more inviting in comparison to the heavier political message in the lyrics. “We don’t have that much time”, the distressed message is delivered by a distorted voice, a metaphor for the changes and distortions occurring on Earth. The bass line works as a continuous deep and unsettling noise in the background of the song, keeping listeners unsettled regardless of the contradictory synths that act as a distraction to the topic. 

The album’s titular song Pure Luxury is all aesthetic, from ‘scented oils’ to ‘expensive sheets’, NZCA LINES commentary on consumerism is clear - the music a materialistic mask for Lovett’s opinions on the modern ideology - “it’s about the idea of accumulating material goods in a world where the environment is messed up and we are destroying stuff.” The song starts with synthesisers and drums which come to an abrupt halt before the vocals pick up; transforming the piece into an indie-disco mesh with the synthesisers rejoining for the chorus. The piece finishes as suddenly as it began, a clear defined end

Released in April, the Pure Luxury music video is a colourful show of exaggerated consumerism with a nod to materialistic investment banker, Patrick Bateman. Not only does Lovett refer to American Psycho, but also to the song ‘we’re in the money’ from Gold Diggers of 1933; a song of hope and optimism during the great depression changes with Pure Luxury’s modern commentary on capitalism. On September 30th a NZCA LINES performed a the song on livestream, singing and producing the track under neon lights - a great precursor for the live shows that have now been announced. 

Compared to Pure LuxuryPrisoner of Love is a much simpler visual interpretation of a track. Released in June during the pandemic, the music video was directed and shot by Lovett’s wife Alina Rancier and choreographed by Elena Vazintaris. The entirety of the song is performed in one empty room, save for a disco ball and piano, with continuous changing lights - the white suit worn by NZCA LINES’ Lovett allows him to change and blend along with the lighting.  

Lovett has expressed a desire to continue focussing on promoting the album as much as possible instead of creating new work - with plans for more intricate music videos post-lockdown as well as live shows in 2021. 

Current confirmed live dates are - 
London, Heaven - May 19
Manchester, Yes - May 21
Bristol, Exchange - May 22
Birmingham, The Hare and Hounds - May 25
Glasgow, Broadcast - May 26
Leeds, Headrow House - May 27
Nottingham, Metronome - May 28

- Molly Stone



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