Album Review: From the Cradle to the Rave by Shit Robot
Fairly Good, Based on 5 Critics
New Musical Express (NME) - 80 Based on rating 4/5
[b]Marcus Lambkin[/b] seems to have a thing for awful names and even worse puns. Luckily for us, as [a]Shit Robot[/a], his ability to craft sublime slices of electro house and muscular techno pop trumps everything else about him. Given its unashamed ‘80s synth worship mixed with irresistible dance grooves and a cast of familiar vocalists ([b]James Murphy[/b], [a]Hot Chip[/a]’s [b]Alexis Taylor[/b] and [b]Juan MacLean[/b]), it even feels like this and not [a]LCD Soundsystem[/a]’s [b]‘This Is Happening’[/b] is the key DFA release of 2010.
The title From the Cradle to the Rave suggests a lifetime's worth of dance music-- a kind of connoisseurship we've come to expect from the DFA label. In the case of Marcus Lambkin aka Shit Robot, that's just the education he's enjoyed: Now 39, the Irish-born producer started DJing in Dublin in the late 1980s before moving to New York in 1992 to absorb the acid house and disco bubbling up in the city's underground clubs. There he'd eventually link up with James Murphy and have a hand in creating DFA.
With fond remembrance for the days when acid house reigned supreme, 20-year veteran, pal of the DFA crew, and former resident DJ at the Save the Robots club Marcus Lambkin finally released his first album in 2010. Relying on scenesters like Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor, the Make-Up's Ian Svenonius, and LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy and Nancy Whang (also of Juan Maclean) to keep the songs relevant, From the Cradle to the Rave is overtly retro, dating directly from the mid-‘80s to early ‘90s. Elements of Technotronic, Bizarre Inc., Bananarama, and Yaz pop up amidst the hearty 4/4 kick, synth strings, digital Steinway, handclaps, and gurgling bass grooves, as well as the all-encompassing classic techno of Detroit, Chicago, and Germany.
Not to get all Seinfeld about it, but really, what’s the deal with “dance-punk”? Roughly since the average Midwest resident could lock in on “Mr. Brightside” during a game of radio roulette, any act with a Roland TB-303 supplanting their driving beats gets dragged into punk’s perpetually splintering lineage. At least veritable vet Marcus Lambkin has an apt gives-no-fuck name going for him.
Marcus Lambkin’s debut LP explores the DFA Records sound’s less-swept corners. Chris Power 2010 Marcus Lambkin, aka Shit Robot, grew up in Ireland on a diet of Dead Kennedys and Killing Joke, before the acid house wave broke over his pleasure centres and washed him up on New York’s shores. By 2000 he was running the Saturday night party Plant at Centro-Fly, which had transitioned from place to dance to place to be seen.