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Shit Robot – From The Cradle To The Rave review

Little Known DFA Fact # 23: James Murphy employs a rusty old swingometer to decide which of his cadre of DFA acts get to release an album. Having been stuck between LCD Soundsystem and The Juan MacLean in recent times, Marcus Lambkin snuck into the office one day whilst Justin Miller and his office minions were enjoying a lunchtime slice at Grimaldis and applied a liberal dose of WD40. Newly greased, the arrow of fortune finally fell on Shit Robot, allowing Lambkin to unleash the beast that is From The Cradle To The Rave.

Questionable title aside, this debut long player from the Godfather of DFA ticks all the boxes. The opening sinewy bass strains, synth rises and trademark congested vocal delivery of James Murphy which characterise “Tuff Enuff?” set the tone. References to early Chicago House, European progenitors of techno and the finest in gay disco pulse with energy throughout, but this is an album that works just as well on headphones as in the club. This is thanks in no small part to the impressive and interesting cast of guest vocalists involved. Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor delivers a gloriously fragile falsetto turn on “Losing My Patience” which is matched perfectly by the glacial synth melodies crafted by Lambkin.

Equally impressive on the ears is “Take Me Up” the following track which allows DFA chanteuse Nancy Whang to maintain her record of seemingly appearing on every album the label drops. Long may it continue on this evidence as Whang’s almost disinterested vocals ride the retro mid tempo Human League synth breeze with aplomb. The inclusion of “Simple Things” lends familiar warmth amidst the overall newness of an album that feels just right at nine tracks long.

Tony Poland