Concept albums are an odd thing, aren’t they? We can’t really think of one since M83 that sort of managed to pull it all together, but even then for something that supposed to be wholly unique the signposts are largely the same. Throw a little spoken-word / foreign language dialogue at the top. Add some cinematic strings. Shit’s all sorted.
To be honest, we expected a little bit more from NZCA Lines. After all, Two Hearts is one of the most undersung pop gems of the last 12 months, and Michael Lovett is capable of marrying clinical electronica and a disaffected vocal to achieve something at the very least worthy of a bop. But as one might expect from a themed album around futuristic sci-fi affairs, there’s something far too sanitised about Infinite Summer to make it memorable.
In his defence, Lovett does arguably have quite an uphill battle to face. There’s very little in the nu-disco synth-wave genre that hasn’t been seen before, resulting in tracks like Persephone Dreams drifting with clunky listlessness. However, there is something worth clinging to on songs like New Atmosphere and the title track, two of a handful of sparks where Lovett manages to overcome the pristine sheen of it all and get under our skin.
And, like all concept albums, about halfway through any sense of theme is forgotten in search of stylistic flair or well-crafted songwriting. That appears in fits and starts on this record (Jessica in particular stands out), but never enough to counterbalance its very evident flaws. An Infinite Summer might sound rather nice in principle, then, but ultimately it needs the presence of some shade to make it truly appreciated.