“The birth of a mutant child created with a synth” – This is how Joe Goddard described on Twitter his newest release Electric Lines. Not only is it his second solo full length album, but also his second LP released since 2009’s Harvest Festival. Indeed, Goddard released a couple of EPs consisting of remixes and original goodies, but this latest release has a very different feel from his previous works. Originally from the band Hot Chip, Goddard stays true to his firstly fans while drawing attention to new electronic dance listeners.
First and foremost, listeners of Hot Chip would be very pleasantly surprised upon listening to the track “Electric Lines.” In addition to the sweet sounding mellow mood, Alexis Taylor of Hot Chips sings the entire title track. He is cool and collected to fit the song’s atmosphere, but at the same time with a strain of longing. As he sings the lyrics, “bring me something back when you go,” the acceptance of change is clear. Both Goddard and Taylor created the track to illustrate how technology and music making is ever changing. Yet, they still would like to cherish the past and the present as much as they can. They try not to see change as a sign of defeat, but rather evolution with the hope of making music better – better in the sense that art can be more real even if instruments are made of pure technology.
This seems to be a continuous motif throughout the album. In “Music Is the Answer,” the title explains the purpose of the track: to remind the audience that music will always be a remedy to emotional ails. Goddard’s choice of using British artist SLO’s voice is commended – her light, breathy pitch soars over the dark, tumbling chords seamlessly. She is the beacon of light and sound, leading the audience through murky waters and troublesome times. Goddard arranged this track rather artfully by mixing the message with musicianship.
Considering that Goddard has a large influence not only in electronic and dance music, but evidentially in house and soul music. This is not too much of a surprise since Goddard has another side project called The 2 Bears, which is heavily house, soul, electronic, and dance: similar to Electric Lines, but in a different direction. This latest release sets the scene in a tranquil lonely disco, having the scanty crowd sway the same moves over again for an hour. Though not all the tracks are repetitive, there are quite a few of them that simply lack development, such as “Lasers” and “Bumps.”
On the other hand, the album has the ability to transport its audience into one of Goddard’s live shows. His use of synths and electronic beats paints the room dark with calm neon laser lights. In other tracks such as “Home” and “Funk You Up,” there is an energetic vintage vibe that keeps listeners on their toes, drawing from all sorts of decades. In other tracks, there is a sweetness that caresses alongside the smooth instrumentation, such as in “Ordinary Madness” and “Nothing Moves.”
Electric Lines is described perfectly by Goddard as a “mutant child created with synth.” The album has both the comforting aspects of childhood and also the high pent up energy of sugar rushes. Even if the tracks lack development, it still could be a fitting soundtrack for quiet menial tasks. Nevertheless, Goddard’s choice of various vocals in addition to his own creates a track list that compliments his vision: music is the answer.