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NZCA Lines Infinite Summer Memphis Industries

January doesn’t seem, by any stretch of the imagination, like a shrewd time to release a record that’s a) called Infinite Summer and b) actually sounds like one. Perhaps it’s best to consider this a very early pitch for the season’s indispensible synth pop album instead, then. Londoner Michael Lovett has expanded the line-up of NZCA Lines – previously his solo project – to add ex-Ash guitarist Charlotte Hatherley as well as that of Sarah Jones, who has plenty of previous experience in the electronic top flight with Hot Chip and New Young Pony Club.

In essence, though, the core of what Lovett’s trying to do with NZCA Lines hasn’t changed. Like his self-titled record before it, Infinite Summer displays clear cinematic ambition, opening with sampled French dialogue on Approach and going on to set the scene with the sprawling Persephone Dreams. Woozy, spiraling synth backdrops are the order of the day, and Lovett’s tentative, unobtrusive vocals nip along nicely, reminiscent of Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor or Metronomy’s Joe Mount – Lovett’s spent the time between his last record and this one as a touring member of the latter band.

Infinite Summer takes most of its cues from those types of electro pop groups, tinging their breezy melodies with the swollen reverb of chillwave here and the sunny hooks of the likes of Blood Orange there. As much as Lovett isn’t reinventing the wheel here, his ability to dip between the sweeping theatrics of How Long Does It Take and the moodier, more introspective cuts like Dark Horizon helps set him apart in a crowded musical niche, even if the convoluted narrative and concept threaten to collapse under their own weight at points. When the summer’s long evenings finally swing around, this LP will demand a revisit.