As a member of both Hot Chip and The 2 Bears, and as a multi-faceted musician involved in production, songwriting and DJing, Joe Goddard has earned his music industry stripes.
All this experience, however, makes Electric Lines something of a disappointment. Yes, it is as technically adept as one might expect and, yes, the album flows nicely as a whole, but it certainly will not blow you away. In fact, Goddard’s latest effort feels somewhat flat – save the disco-infused taste of deep house that is Home, the album’s brightest jewel. The left-of-field pop track Music Is the Answer will draw some fans as well, thanks in part to the effortless vocals offered by Jess Mills.
While these two standout singles – together with the dancefloor-conscious Truth Is Light – elevate the album as a whole, Electric Lines has its problems. Namely, there are recurring issues with how the music and lyrics work together; particularly in Human Heart where the backing track is overly sparse, meaning that bars without lyrics feel like empty space, only serving to emphasise the vacuousness of the words, rather than complementing them. Interesting production is routinely hampered by weak lyrics and by vocals which dampen the intensity set by the backing track. Additionally, the occasional touches of distortive auto-tune impede easy listening and are frankly unnecessary.
Electric Lines serves as something of an homage to dance music, spanning various styles including electronic soul, house and techno, with the odd flash of vapourwave nostalgia. An admirable album concept, sure, but it is this preoccupation with the connections between different genres which robs Electric Lines of a galvanising, driving force.
Listen to: Home, Truth Is Light
Buy Joe Goddard - Electric Lines on Double LP/Triple LP/CD from Norman Records