Album of the week: Joe Goddard – Electric Lines

Joe Goddard returns to long player for the first time in eight years as his eponymous artistic alias. The DJ, producer and label boss, who might be best known for his work as a member of Hot Chip, has a restless approach to music. DJing as Greco Roman; releasing the music of others on the label of the same name; producing music between everything from Disco to Synth Pop, all informs the same person in Joe Goddard, and when Hot Chip enjoys some downtime, Joe Goddard can be found assuming any and all of these positions. Whether making uplifting House as Two bears, DJing for Greco Roman Soundsystem, or experimenting with electronica as his new project “A Pulse Train” with Sam Shepherd (aka Floating Points), creating is certainly at the centre of Goddard’s everyday life with no preconceived notions of where it will land in his vast kaleidoscopic vision of music.

A Spotify playlist about the influences behind electric lines:

For this latest Joe Goddard album, he has assumed the Pop aesthetic infused with UK urban genres that have been concurrent in his work since Gabriel. Going from R&B to Disco in the first three tracks, Goddard leaves the start of the album open and accessible, with no desire to test more obscure waters until “Lasers” takes us into a wall of synthesised sound and a House beat. It’s a momentary diversion however and Goddard quickly moves back into melodic vocals and densely synthesised textures that sit somewhere between Solange and Kraftwerk as bold, yet simple electronic orchestrations and sweet vocal hooks. There’s certainly a pop inclination here to Goddard’s work, but it’s like no pop album you’ve ever heard.

Although Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor makes a cameo, there’s little to no relationship to Goddard’s band other than his choice instruments, and it appears that for this album Joe Goddard was very much aware of the contemporary musical landscape. There’s an emphasis on introspective melodic lines carved out of melancholic synthesisers, adding a severe depth to tracks that function at a perfunctory level.