Irish producer Marcus Lambkin, aka Shit Robot, creates club dance tracks with late twentieth-century throwback sounds. His nostalgic style fits perfectly with the aesthetic cultivated by his label, DFA Records. Started by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, the label puts out dance music for people who don’t like EDM. The producers and bands on DFA represent a variety of sounds and styles, but all pay homage to the music that filled clubs and dance halls in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s.
Lambkin released his second album as Shit Robot, We Got A Love, on Tuesday, March 18. His sophomore effort stays true to the DFA sound, hitting on everything from disco to house to post-punk. The album is sleek, fun, and incredibly dancey. What it lacks in depth and originality it makes up for with a deep understanding of its reference points and a deft melding of yesterday’s sounds.
Lambkin takes advantage of his connections on We Got A Love, collaborating with Nancy Whang and Reggie Watts, two vocalists who appear on a number of LCD Soundsystem tracks. In addition, We Got A Love features Museum Of Love and Luke Jenner (from The Rapture), artists who are also signed to DFA Records. The two house tracks on the record feature vocalist Holly Backler and house legend Lidell Townsell, further evidence of Lambkin’s familiarity with the history of the genre.
An album that features this many competing voices in addition to a number of different dance subgenres, runs the risk of sounding disjointed and fragmented without a talented producer at the helm. Lambkin manages to incorporate these while also providing constants from track to track. To help the listener remain grounded, each song is built on complex rhythm compositions and thumping bass lines. The drums and bass often sound analog, similar to the instrumentation used by LCD Soundsystem; on the more house- and trance-like songs, Lambkin chooses to go digital with drum machines and bass synthesizers. Piano and synth stabs add flavor to the entire album, and they are well placed within the composition of each track.
Standout moments include the title track “We Got A Love” and “Feels Real.” The first couples Reggie Watts’s vocals with an insanely groovy bass line, evoking the feel of an outer space disco. Both tracks feature the Murphy-influenced analog drums and bass. House fans will be drawn to “Do It (Right)” and “Feels Like,” which are exactly the kind of tracks that lead to dance floor nirvana. Meanwhile, trance fans should give “Space Race” and “The Tempest” a spin. Lambkin digs into some spacey grooves on these vox-less tracks. And people searching for that new disco sound should look no further than “Do That Dance.” Featuring Nancy Whang, “Do That Dance” is a little cheesy, but then again, so is disco.
We Got A Love and Shit Robot benefit from knowing exactly what and who they are. Lambkin is a devout fan of old dance floor sounds and his product is a throwback dance record. Listeners searching for depth or originality should look elsewhere, but fans of old school dance music should give Lambkin’s second album a chance. After all, he is an expert.
Article by Ryan Riedmuller