As co-keyboardist, co-vocalist and co-founder of Hot Chip, Joe Goddard has been responsible for bringing in a tangible house and pop music aesthetic to his British band's celebrated blend of emo indietronica. With his second solo LP, Electric Lines (and first since 2009's Harvest Festival), Goddard dives head-first into these sounds — albeit without taking the temperature of dance music's current atmosphere first.
Although there are some strong tracks featured here — including the earnest, R&B-influenced "Home" (featuring Michigan up-and-coming vocalist Daniel Wilson), the wistful, proggy slow-burner "Children of the Sun" and the gentle, polyrhythmic "Truth Is Light" — most of this 10-track LP comes off rather patchy and passé. For example, UK electro musician Jess Mills delivers a killer performance on album opener, "Ordinary Madness" and closer "Music Is the Answer," but Goddard's production and melody lines come off much too breezy to match her vocal passion and finesse.
As Goddard wildly leaps across multiple genres, it becomes clear that je sounds most comfortable and confident (and therefore, best) when his songs resemble his work in Hot Chip, as on "Lose Your Love" and the title track. On Electric Lines, Joe Goddard shoots for something eclectic and exciting, but settles for something sporadically enjoyable at best. (Greco-Roman)