LIVE: NZCA Lines (Open Norwich, 11/4/16)

Having released what is arguably one of the best albums of the year so far in Infinite Summer, expectations were high ahead of going to see NZCA Lines in support of Teleman on their recent UK tour. Despite doing this tour slot minus Charlotte Hatherley (Ash, Sylver Tongue) – away with other commitments – main main Michael Lovett and drumming/vocalist extraordinaire Sarah Jones (Hot Chip, New Young Pony Club) certainly did not disappoint.

Dressed in all-white as part of a carefully stylised image that suitably reflects the ‘experimental’ tone of the album, the pair create a rich, all-encompassing sound. Lovett is a fairly reserved figure on stage, commanding attention with an unspoken aura rather than having the ‘gift of the gab’ relied upon by many frontmen. For her part, Jones makes singing and drumming simultaneously look easy – which it surely can’t be, particularly on a fast-paced, percussion-rich song such as Two Hearts for example.

Their atmospheric brand of synth-pop was immersive from the off, as they played several tracks from the album, although the small venue and static lighting at Norwich’s Open venue probably didn’t do much to add the sort of visual impact that the music deserves.

Jessica – with its slick, melodic undertones reminiscent of  Prefab Sprout – and Persephone Dreams stood out, before wrapping things up with the thumping Two Hearts, a track that really should have been bothering the upper levels of the charts after its release early this year… perhaps it is right now in an alternative universe in which the masses depend on stores other than Tesco or Sainsbury’s for their music supplies.

Technically superb and engaging to watch, the hard-work and dedication to the cause of Lovett and his relatively recently-added NZCA Lines collaborators comes shining through in their live set. High hopes of much more to come.

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