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From The Cradle To The Rave
Shit Robot From The Cradle To The Rave
Released 17 September 2010
Producer Shit Robot
Label DFA
Length 60:20
Genre Electronic
Website shitrobot.com

Two tracks into From The Cradle To The Rave and I was beginning to wonder if, just like The Shitty Beatles in Wayne’s World, Shit Robot wasn’t just a clever name. The offending tracks 'Tuff Enuff' and 'I Found Love' sound like the kind of filler you’d find in a mid 90s compilation album, sandwiched somewhere between N-Trance’s 'Stayin’ Alive' and Simply Red’s 'Fairground'. Not a great start from Dublin born Marcus Lambkin, DFA’s newest starlet. This is not some kid off the street by the way, Lambkin has been in the music business since 2000, honing his skills as a DJ working alongside James Murphy (co-founder of DFA records and the brains behind LCD Soundsystem). Given his apprenticeship credentials, I was decidedly underwhelmed with my first experience.

Luckily by track three things begin to pick up. Featuring a guest appearance by Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip, 'Losing My Patience' moves the album into much safer waters. Taylor gives his usual likeable-nerd performance over a sparse electro beat. This is followed up with 'Take ‘Em Up' featuring LCD Soundsystem collaborator Nancy Whang on vocals; pure 1980s electro pop at its finest. The momentum continues with 'Grim Receiver', featuring yet another DFA label mate in Juan MacLean. This a sprawling eight minute track, heavy on atmosphere with a simple yet effective vocal delivered by MacLean.

Lambkin seems to save his best work for guest stars and that is definitely true of the two album highlights. The first is 'Simple Things (Work It Out)' where Ian Svenonius (formerly of The Make-Up) lends his vocals and his squeals, sounding remarkably like The Cat from Red Dwarf. The song itself is a mixture of the despair and paranoia of the singer due to his inability to perform the simplest of tasks, not exactly your standard theme for dance music but interesting none the less. The second song is 'Answering Machine' featuring Planningtorock who delivers a stellar performance over a squelching synth line with a string section breakdown that sounds like it’s come from a Hitchcock film.

There is plenty on From The Cradle To The Rave to like, despite its slow start. The array of guest vocalists, each given their own style, keeps each track interesting. It’s a solid album that will rightly earn Shit Robot plaudits. By Lambkin’s own admission this album has been in the works for quite some time, his first single was released in 2006. Hopefully the success of this album will be the catalyst that results in more frequent output.

- Brian Kinsella