Inspired by the works of Arthur C. Clarke, J.G. Ballard and Philip K. Dick, Infinite Summer sees Michael Lovett’s NZCA Lines “marry sci-fi futurism to personal intimacies” to produce what must surely be one of the funkiest apocalyptic concept albums of all time.
Indeed, also featuring former Ash guitarist Charlotte Hatherley and drummer Sarah Jones (Hot Chip, New Young Pony Club), the follow-up to 2012’s self-titled debut may center on an expanded sun’s imminent destruction of Earth, but the majority of its twelve tracks are more suited to an all-night party than an event of catastrophic proportions.
“Jessica” combines feel-good West Coast harmonies with a bouncing new wave pop production which screams 80s John Hughes movie; the propulsive electro-funk of “Chemical is Obvious” and slinky yacht-rock of “Dark Horizon” could both have been lifted from Daft Punk’s last opus; and the falsetto-led leftfield synth-pop of “Persephone Dreams” even ends with a joyous flurry of steel drums.
Elsewhere, “Do It Better” and “Sunlight” echo the percussive turn-of-the-century R&B of Timbaland, while “How Long Does It Take” blends infectious handclaps with the kind of proggy guitar solos you’d expect to hear from concept album pioneers Yes.
The celebratory vibes may be a welcome surprise, but Infinite Summer is just as convincing when NZCA Lines’ production begins to echo the album’s doom-laden theme, whether it’s the imposing French spoken word intro and cinematic strings of opener “Approach,” the slow-motion electro of the title track or the majestic closer “The World You Have Made For Us.”
Far from being too clever for its own good then, Infinite Summer is in fact an ambitious but hugely accessible affair which somehow makes the end of the world sound like a fun place to be.