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SHIT ROBOT
From the Cradle to the Rave
DFA / EMI
Format: CD / LP / MP3
Release Date: September 21, 2010
By Robert Stribley February 2, 2011

Marcus Lambkin is a Dublin-born, James Murphy-blessed DJ now recording under the moniker Shit Robot. Lambkin met Murphy when they shared an office space and the two have been knob-twiddling together for over a decade now. It comes as no surprise then that, at times, From the Cradle to the Rave sounds a lot like an LCD Soundsystem spin-off.

“Tuff Enuff” opens the album and glides along effortlessly in a proto-Kraftwerk groove. It features Lambkin’s first ever stab at vocals. Murphy actually prompted him to grab the mic after making up the (admittedly minimal) lyrics on the spot. It’s a good example of the collaboration between the two, which clearly provides structural support for Lambkin’s first full-length release after about 20 years as a DJ.

Shit Robot clearly belongs within the DFA fold, but existing comparisons to LCD Soundsystem may frame Lambkin’s work unfairly. Regardless of Murphy’s assistance in producing From the Cradle and providing vocals for a couple tracks, Shit Robot doesn’t occupy the same dimensions created by the cerebral ruminations so often accompanying LCD’s better efforts.

Any love found on the floor of the discotheque in “I Found Love” feels a little clinical, even as the track’s clearly Kraut-inspired in its monotony. Initially somewhat infectious, that track grows grating after a couple of listens. “Triumph!!!” also proves a bland, noodly number despite featuring Murphy’s vocals. Unfortunately, what one lacks in inspiration can’t be made up for by exclamation marks. “I Got a Feeling” distills a little more soul, gradually escalating deep into house territory over its eight minutes. You hear Murphy’s and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Talking Head’s jingle/clank influence here, too. But Murphy’s imprimatur is nowhere more apparent than on “Take ‘Em Up,” the LP’s centerpiece and apparently Lambkin’s favorite track – think LCD’s “Get Innocuous” with Nancy Whang intoning “We can normalize” repeatedly. If the track’s guilty of sitting too closely to the LCD blueprint, who cares? It still provides listeners with some of the most gorgeous moments on the album.

Elsewhere, “Losing My Patience” benefits from Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor and his idiosyncratic vocal talent, whereas “Grim Receiver” offers the most grit, adding grinding guitars into the mix along with vocals by The Juan MacLean. “Answering Machine” has the greatest legs, though, incorporating sampled strings, a wickedly catchy refrain and pointed lyrics. “You’ve got to come and talk to me,” sings Planningtorock’s Janine Rostron, injecting a critique of our own increasingly robotic lifestyles. “It’s not going to work through that machine.” Her aching vocals encourage you to shrug yourself out of a digital cloud and long for corporeal appetites.

Visit: Shit Robot | DFA Records
Purchase: Insound | eMusic