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Marcus Lambkin may not have the most kid-friendly musical alias but there is no denying his status as a master of electronic pop. Once dubbed the “Godfather of DFA Records” by none other than the label’s co-founder James Murphy, Lambkin recently released his debut LP as Shit Robot, From the Cradle to the Rave, and will be releasing “Take ‘Em Up” as a single this coming Tuesday.
Given that Rave was so replete with guest contributors (from fellow DFA artists to Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor), it’s not surprising that the new cut features guest vocals, this time from The Juan Maclean‘s Nancy Whang. Whang, who is also famous for her contributions to LCD Soundsystem’s recordings, has a delivery reminiscent of The Human League’s Joanne Catherall, a style perfectly suited to the buzzing, bopping synthesizers on “Take ‘Em All.”
This radio edit clocks in at three and a half minutes, giving the track a perfect single length and making it ideal for consumption on “repeat” mode. Lambkin builds the song on a foundation of a simple drum machine beat, punctuated now and then with handclap fills. A little bit of ’80s guitar work occasionally rises to the front of the mix, which is dominated by the twin foci of Whang’s vocals and a sumptuous synth stack. The latter comes in different flavors: a bass line is grumbled throughout by one keyboard while another strings up soft synth pad notes like lights twinkling in the distance.
If “Take ‘Em Up” is guilty of not being much in the way of innovation, it does make a case for itself as the crystallization of what made artists like Giorgio Moroder, ABC, and OMD so fun to listen to in the first place (and all of these years later). Shit Robot’s music is as fun as it is familiar, and its throwback synth-pop style is nothing short of irresistible.