Shit Robot may have been named Shark Robot at some point in their history. They just took the extra step to beat music reviewers to the punch of a Spinal Tap inspired two-word review and just named themselves Shit Robot. It’s not a very evocative name, it brings a sneer to the ear, and it sounds juvenile. This may have been what Marcus Lambkin, the Irish DJ turned musician, wanted people to think, lowering their expectations in order to then win them over. It’s been a few years of Shit Robot not hitting my radar, but with his latest release We Got a Love, I can certainly say at the he has won me over.
Marcus Lambkin may have just hit that point as a veteran DJ where he knows the “good” beats. Those “good” beats are the ones that don’t rely on gimmicks, they’re patient, and they’re the ones that will always get you moving. Lambkin may also just know the right people, mainly one James Murphy who is well versed in the knowledge of those “good” beats. I’m not sure just how much James Murphy did on We Got a Love, but it’s hard not to hear that strong influence throughout the album, and that’s a very good thing. “The Secret (Feat. Reggie Watts)” is the first track and one of the best, a simple scale keyboard beat, it’s so infectious in its simplicity as it builds and builds. “Dingbat (feat. Museum of Love)” is another sweet track with just the simplest of drum beats before the keyboard riffs hit, MoL’s vocals perfectly complement the contemplative tone. “Do that Dance (Feat. Nancy Whang)” keeps the hit streak coming with more of the same. It’s the simple details of the rave whistle that punctuates the end of a beat stanza, that shows the fine attention to detail that not many dance records have.
Just before you think you’re in for the record of the year “Do It (Right) (Feat. Lidell Townself)” comes on, and it nearly sinks the record. There’s so much awful in this track that has mostly to do with Townself himself. It’s a throwback to the worst of House music with repeated lyrics of “Jack your body” which Townself hammers and croons, it’s ridiculous. The weird part is the rest of the album actually rules. “Feels Real (Feat. JENR)” has a very LCD Soundsystem bass riff and beat, even though JENR may also be drawing from the annoying House music vocal repertoire here, the beat is “good”. “Space Race” is a bit of [a] Daft Punk homage, it would have fit well on the Tron soundtrack. As “Feels Right (Feat. Holly Backler)” follows we hear Lambkin touching on some of old school house tricks, I normally wouldn’t go for this type of house-vocal led tracks, but the “good beats” win again . Reggie Watts returns on the title track “We Got a Love”, it’s not as memorable as his first appearance, but that 90’s techno keyboard hits the right nostalgic mark. “Tempest” is only the second non-vocal track on the album, and it utilizes all the traits that have made We Got a Love strong, simple “good” beats.
James Murphy may have had a strong hand on We Got A Love, but there has to be some credit given to Marcus Lambkin, who’s good name of Shit Robot is on the album. The album has a solid direction, and excellent decision making in crafting some really memorable tracks. They’re filled with what I’ve called “good” beats, which could also just mean they make me want to move and dream at the same time.