sat 13/07/2024

Album: Joe Goddard - Harmonics | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Joe Goddard - Harmonics

Album: Joe Goddard - Harmonics

The Hot Chip mainstay serves up a feast - but are there too many cuisines at once?

Joe Goddard’s torrent of creativity rarely fails to amaze. As well as eight albums as a crucial part of Hot Chip, he has made two in the 2 Bears duo with Raf Rundell, one as Hard Feelings with Amy Douglas, and there’s been various other collaborations besides (A Pulse Train, Extra Credit, Greco-Roman Soundsystem, Lightbox Of Magic Unknowledge), not to mention dozens of remixes and a none too shabby DJ career too.

Through all of this there’s been a strong musical personality, circling around palpable love of the dancefloor and its communities, and use of synthesisers to conjure feelings of warmth and emotional intimacy.

All that is present in bucketloads on Goddard’s third solo album. It’s absolutely clear that his studio mojo is fully intact: the fizzing chords and rubberised basslines sound fresh each time, the song structures are tight, there are hooks a-go-go, and the emotional range is impressive. However, this latter is maybe where things go awry. The range is so broad, that it swerves quite dramatically from track to track and quite often you might not feel like you’re listening to an album as such at all. Indeed it actually feels like there are at least three albums pulling in different directions.

First, Goddard has gone the most outright pop-dance yet on the big ballad “Ghosts” with Tom McFarlane, the trumpet-laden Afrobeat-house banger “Progress” with Ibibio Sound Machine, the outstanding UK rap of “When Love’s Out of Fashion” with Oranje, and the two high drama tracks with Findia: windswept two-step on “When You Call” and full on pop trance on “Destiny”. Then there’s a load of tracks that feel like an indietronica allstars album with guest vocals from Barrie, Goddard’s Hot Chip partner Alexis Taylor, and most effective of all the high drama falsetto of Hayden Thorpe formerly of Wild Beasts.

Finally, there are Goddard solo tracks proper. “Follow You”, “On my Mind” and the closer “Revery” – with Alabaster deplume’s clarinet adding extra emotional depth – are among the gentlest and most touching tracks on the record, and sometimes it feels like particularly the more pop tracks are intruding on their delicateness. There’s nothing wrong with it, and maybe in the streaming age the album structure is less significant – but given just how focused Goddard’s previous collaborative projects have been, it’s hard not to feel that there are the seeds of several better solo and/or collaborative albums in this great but bamboozling hour of music.

@joemuggs

Listen to "Moments":

Indeed it actually feels like there are at least three albums pulling in different directions

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3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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