It may sound like an easy way to bait a music snob into an argument, but it's worth noting that "Triumph!!!" -- the epic send-off from S-- Robot's years-in-the-making debut, From the Cradle to the Rave -- doesn't qualify as "new music" from a discographical standpoint. The song was originally released as the B-side to the group's first 12" single, "Wrong Galaxy," way back in 2006 (giving you a pretty good idea of the pace at which the DFA veteran constructed his first full-length). For those of us who weren't collecting DFA 12" singles back in '06 (guilty), this particular jam flew under the radar; barring the new punctuation in the title, the song sounds identical to the original '06 iteration, which partially explains why it has all the trappings of an archetypal Death From Above cut.
That year seems to be a flagship time for the DFA label, as well: It came as it was releasing the full-length debuts of LCD Soundsystem and The Juan MacLean, bringing Hot Chip to the fore with the release of The Warning, and cementing Tim Goldsworthy and James Murphy's genius as producers with the release of two DFA remix compilations. The Rapture, and the purported dance-punk revival that accompanied the band's success, no longer seemed like the label's major calling card, and Black Dice was still the only black-sheep band amongst a bunch of dance-floor technicians (These days, Shocking Pinks, Free Energy and the Prinzhorn Dance School round out the exceptions.) In so many words, no one could touch DFA when on the dance-floor in 2006.
Four or five years later, "Triumph!!!" fits like a glove into the retroactive portrait: The DFA production (Goldsworthy/Murphy, plus engineer Eric Broucek and Matt Thornley in this case) feels on-point as ever, slow-marinating the sprawl of Kraftwerk motorik, disco/house groove and that incredibly well-placed guitar riff. That's not to downplay the songwriting of Marcus Lambkin (a.k.a. S-- Robot), who deserves far more credit than is currently being paid here; it's just hard to tell where the line between producer and artist stands in this case. (Murphy even contributes vocals to the track.) "Triumph!!!" simply sits so comfortably within the DFA aesthetic -- the patience in song development, the smart pastiche of influences, the attention to detail -- that it's hard not to see it as less of a S-- Robot track and more of an artifact of collaboration that resurfaced in 2010.
Maybe it's just the fact that the artistic relationship between Goldsworthy and James Murphy seems to have dissolved, or the fact that Murphy's best songs don't often take this type of approach anymore, but for fans of the label, "Triumph!!!" can induce a yearning for the DFA of the mid-'00s -- a welcome anachronism to the eclecticism of the label's more recent direction. The idea is absurd, of course, seeing as how DFA has always been premised on a hearty helping of nostalgia: If the phrase "nostalgic nostalgia" isn't a music argument waiting to happen, what is?