Music Reviews
Pure Luxury

NZCA Lines Pure Luxury

(Memphis Industries ) Buy it from Insound Rating - 6/10

It’s hard for pop music, especially retro-leaning pop music, to feel exciting today. After a brief section throughout the 2010s where every hit single was a 1980s pastiche, it’s easy to be burnt out on thoughtfully written, slick pop music. Michael Lovett is here to say, fuck that. His project, NZCA Lines, has waded in the waters of disco before, but their latest, entitled Pure Luxury, is that style of writing on steroids. The album is the sort of ridiculous over-commitment to a style that is appealing and fun to hear, even if it's not great.

That much is clear on the album’s second single, Real Good Time, which opens with a pitch-shifted voicemail that's layered atop of egregious synth bass and way too much falsetto. For some reason, the synths in the bridge sound like they are screaming. That low, creepy voice says, “I know you thought you could get away with it,” at one point for some reason. In some ways, the song is a litmus test for the listener. If you can withstand those over-the-top backing vocals and its drum preset, you’ll probably survive Pure Luxury from top to bottom. If you’re already weirded out by that pitch-shifting and synth bass (which is understandable), you might want to avoid the project altogether. 

Not every song on Pure Luxury sounds like its self-imploding in the way Real Good Time does, though. Take the tight breakup jam Larson, which uses double-tracked vocals and a tense guitar lick to create the best song on the album. The hazy burst and decay of Primp & Shine nearly works. The album’s title track, which opens with these explosive drums and cascading vocals, is pretty enjoyable. What the album does best is maintain this crazy, sweaty, funky vibe. The album’s energy genuinely feels like the floor is liquifying, as Lovett says on Real Good Time. Whether that’s a good thing or not, well, it’s up to the listener. I, for one, have no clue.