Shit Robot - From The Cradle To The Rave
Regardless of the extra personnel involved, this is very much Lambkin's work. From The Cradle To The Rave reflects Lambkin's 20+ year career and is a diverse collection of retro electro-house which sits comfortably among the more famous names in the DFA stable. Every one of the 9 tracks is thick with ideas, samples and calling cards from numerous different offshoots of the dance genre but, crucially, never does it feel overcrowded or needlessly dense.
The album is at its best when writhing in the darker, rawer elements of electro, with its hook-driven bass grooves taking centre stage and it's at these moments where Lambkin displays a pronounced flair equal to anyone making this sort of music today. However, occasionally you can't help but feel he takes a couple of wrong turns, such as the clunky segue between the grimy electro and dreamy house midway through I Got A Feeling. Nancy Whang's vocals on Take 'Em Up 2, much like Alexis Taylor's on Losing My Patients, are great fits and go to show that when Lambkin is able to marry a vocal performance to a groove he's able to come up with something special. A few times on From The Cradle To The Rave, unfortunately, it's either/or.
Calling this a 'new' album is something of a half-truth. Most of these tracks have been available in one form or another for some time now but only now have they been assembled together, which makes this feel like more of a greatest hits collection than anything else. Perhaps that explains the slight lack of cohesion that runs through the album but, as negatives go, that is a relatively minor one. It's obvious to hear that Lambkin has spent many an hour absorbing pretty much every movement the dance music has taken over the past couple of decades and The Cradle To The Rave, while some time coming, is a sturdy companion to anything that has come along during that time.
Review by John Balfe | 09:00 | Wednesday 22nd December 2010 | Album Review