A slightly neurotic start to the biog which accompanies this one. “Next year,” it begins, “Marcus Lambkin, aka Shit Robot, will be 40 years old. If (which it shouldn’t) this fact bothers you, please stop reading now.”
Of course, there are some of us who, if anything, are a bit biased in favour of musicians of a certain age. The first Shit Robot album reflects that, being dance music of a somewhat droll and mature stripe, strongly affiliated to that of James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem.
Murphy, not coincidentally, is all over “From The Cradle To The Rave”: releasing it on DFA; providing a few lyrics, longstanding moral support, and even aerated chorus vox on “Triumph”, a finale which, with some very Rotherish strafed guitar, presses all the right kosmische buttons. For the most part, though, “From The Cradle…” revisits the key LCD trick of re-imagining electropop for a techno and house-savvy audience.
It begins with “Tuff Enuff”, a kind of relative to “Sound Of Silver”’s title track, with Lambkin providing the stern, deadpan vocals. Soon enough, though, the guests are being bussed in at speed. The Juan Maclean are other obvious fellow travellers (though “From The Cradle…” outclasses their effort from last year by some distance), so it’s logical that both John Maclean and Nancy Whang show up. Whang fronts “Take ‘Em Up”, an ingenuous and super-catchy pop song that’d probably cross over if it was released by a band named anything other than Shit Robot. Maclean, meanwhile, takes the mic on “Grim Receiver”, the sort of menacing techno-rock – with fractured guitar solos – that Death In Vegas always claimed to, if not actually did, make.
Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip shows how much his vocals are improving on the synthsoul “Losing My Patience”, and “I Got A Feeling” is especially terrific: chunky techno that gradually morphs into a big deep house tune, with serious vocals from Saheer Umar of House Of House (default LCD analogue is that “Love Can’t Turn Around” bit from “45:33”).
Best of all, Ian Svenonius rolls up on “Simple Things” for one of his wired, priapic, Princely monologues, which eventually kicks off into a very old-school Italian house pounder, piano and all. Been playing this one a lot, actually.