Music: Shit Robot ****
From the Cradle to the Rave (DFA)
This may be his debut album proper, but Dubliner Marcus Lambkin is no overnight sensation. He moved from Ireland to New York 18 years ago and quickly earned a reputation as one of the city's best DJs.
It wasn't long before he crossed paths with a pre-LCD Soundsystem James Murphy and the pair's dance-punk excursions would form the basis for the DFA sound.
It was only when he moved to Germany in 2004 that Lambkin started to think about releasing an album in his own right. And it's been worth the wait because this is an electro-pop album of the highest order, easily the equal of LCD's latest -- and reportedly final -- album, This is Happening.
Murphy guests here -- on the album's cracking closer Triumph -- and there are several other collaborators including Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor and LCD/Juan Maclean keyboardist Nancy Whang. The former contributes vocals to Losing My Patience, while the latter sings on Take 'Em Up 2 -- an extraordinary seven-minute electronica number that should be a highlight when Shit Robot supports LCD Soundsystem for three Tripod, Dublin, shows in November. Take Em Up 2 reveals Lambkin to be a composer of some distinction, while Whang's exemplary vocal performance suggests she has been criminally underused by Murphy.
Over the course of nine tracks -- most of them five or six minutes in duration, and none outstaying their welcome -- Lambkin reworks vintage techno, Kraftwerkian atmosphere and straight-up indie into a hugely appealing kaleidoscope. Simple Things, featuring vocals from Ian Svenonius from The Make Up, exemplifies his magpie approach.
There isn't a weak track on an album that confirms that 2010 has been a remarkable year for Irish music. Here's one expat who really should be in the reckoning for the Choice Music Prize.
Burn it: Take 'Em Up 2; Triumph; Simple Things