Michael Lovett is an experienced musician in his own right, featuring on Christine And The Queens’ debut; the prominent end-of-year lister Chaleur Humaine, as well as being a current member of Metronomy’s on-stage line-up. This is his third LP under his solo moniker NZCA Lines (pronounced Nazca Lines; you know, the large ancient drawings in the desert that perhaps aliens drew, but probably not – but definitely did).
The title track Pure Luxury opens the album with a sort of dream sequence intro, ushering the listener into the façade of superficial opulence: “Don’t make me forget it / Show me that the fantasy is real.” The production is busy here, with effect-heavy backing vocals decorating the funk/pop sound, theatrically mirroring the subject matter of decadence: “So lock me in your ivory tower / Take me to the top and just show me / Pure luxury now.”
It starts to become clear early on that Lovett is capable of dishing out superb bass/synth grooves. Real Good Time, Opening Night and Prisoner Of Love employ you to move. The latter is a strong highlight on the album. The busy production eases up for perfect disco, with strong musical lines playing off each other on top of a simple straight beat and glistening strings.
It’s not all funky disco bops however. Songs like For Your Love and Take This Apart bring it down in tempo and sentiment. The former, with its lush slow chugging rhythm paints a romantic picture of desperation: “And if I feel the danger in the things that we do babe / What have I got to lose / If it’s for your love.” While the latter, when up against the grandeur of the opening tracks, is very understated. This lo-fi ballad is the quiet person at the party, who, when it dies down, turns out to be the one with the most depth: “If we’re too far down / The light never reaches us.”
The album, from the start, boasts a silky funk bravado, with slick weighty synth lines and perfect dancefloor rhythms. Couple that with its nourishing slow sets and the level of quality on the production, ‘Pure Luxury’ aligns itself not out of place up against pop’s finest releases this year.