Nzca/Lines album review

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Meet Michael Lovett, 24 years old, raised in the southwest of England, art school student, multi-instrumentalist, unassuming: a formidable talent. For a time he played bass in his big brother’s band Your Twenties, but all the while, in the sanctity of his bedroom, he was quietly working on his own material. Eschewing the production crutches traditionally associated with bedroom pop – ie hazy reverb – and with the help of housemate, fellow Lo Recordings artist/producer Charlie Alex March, Lovett realised his (vintage) synth compositions in glorious hi-def. Inspired as much by Austrian composer Anton Bruckner’s motets and Brian Wilson, as Aaliyah’s method of singing softly, Lovett’s falsetto harmonies cocoon, his melodies are sensual and stirring, even as he sings about formatting a hard drive (‘Base64 Love’). While the music melds R&B and retro-futuristic synth-pop, Lovett’s lyrics are no afterthought. His tunes tell of strange happenings in stranger environs. The melancholic Nzca sees the a man fall in love with his spaceship; Moonlit Car Chase is the tale of a lover’s cryogenic pact gone awry; while Atoms & Axes finds two separated sweethearts searching for each other across a nuclear wasteland. Alongside album opener Compass Points, the album’s undoubted highlight is Okinawa Channels – all crisp beats, a lithe hook and a heart-surging string sample at the halfway point. And a story about interfering transmissions from an alternate dimension. It’s the album in a nutshell: supreme nerdiness married to a press-repeat groove. Nzca/Lines is exacting but soulful, sexy and imaginative; the debut of the year. Kim Taylor Bennett

By Rob Garratt
Time Out Dubai,

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