Joe Goddard

Electric Lines

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For his first solo album since 2009's Harvest Festival, Joe Goddard continues his devotion to dance music outside of his work with Hot Chip and 2 Bears while borrowing aspects from both of those projects. Like Harvest Festival, Electric Lines is conceptual, but this time the conceit is closer to home; it's a celebration of Goddard's favorite electronic music over the years. Sometimes, its tracks sound like upgraded versions of 2010s trends. The silky-smooth opener "Ordinary Madness," which features vocals by SLO, is a more sophisticated take on tropical house, while "Human Heart" nods to French touch among other styles. At other times, Goddard delivers loving homages of classic sounds. "Lose Your Love" builds on a sample of the Emotions' "I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love," echoing the approach Hot Chip took on 2015's Why Make Sense? "Home" is another vintage-sounding standout, this time merging a sample of Brainstorm's "We're on Our Way Home" with Daniel Wilson's vocals in a gorgeous tribute to Detroit house. Despite a couple of largely instrumental tracks that let Goddard explore the harder side of electronic music (including the aptly named "Lasers"), Electric Lines is a more typical producer/vocalist collaboration than much of his other work, and the preponderance of guest singers makes it feel more like a mix album than a set of original tracks. At times, things blend together too seamlessly, and though it's hard to fault him for taking on the role of chameleonic producer so well, the personality that 2 Bears and Hot Chip bring to their music are just as important as their formidable skills. It's no surprise that Goddard's reunion with Hot Chip bandmate Alexis Taylor on the title track is one of the album's finest moments. As Taylor sings clever metaphors for making connections with gear and people, the meaning behind the entire project becomes heartwarmingly clear. Even if Goddard is occasionally too reverent on Electric Lines, his love of electronic music -- and the way it brings people together -- is undeniable and infectious.

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