SBTRKT: ‘Wonder Where We Land’ Album Review

Courtesy of prettymuchamazing.com
Courtesy of prettymuchamazing.com

On his self-titled debut, SBTRKT perfected the balance between presenting a platter of authentic R ‘n’ B sounds, with a slight twist courtesy of his innovative production. It’s for this very reason that the record, which was released back in 2011, still sounds fresh today. Fast forward three years, and the masked producer has set his sights on doing the same, with Wonder Where We Land.

A quick look at the album’s track listing, and it’s evident that SBTRKT–real name Aaron Jerome–felt the need to expand his repertoire by experimenting with a wider range of artists. Whilst long-time collaborator Sampha (who recently worked on Drake’s Nothing Was the Same) once again features heavily on the record, and fellow label mate Jessie Ware lends her immaculate vocals to “Problem (Solved)“, the rest of the features intrigue, and are sure to raise a few eyebrows. A rather surprising, yet fascinating inclusion would have to be “NEW DORP. NEW YORK“, the LP’s lead single which features vocals from Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig. As the persistent bass thuds away, Ezra’s eccentric vocals, backed up by London singer Wilsen, traipse across the sweet electronics in an ode to New York. Yet, lines like “I got a baseball bat, never hit home runs” and “Gargoyles gargling oil” dampen the track’s overall spirit as the wit is both unexpected and unclear.

Elsewhere on the record, the likes of A$AP Ferg and rising star Raury bring their respective hip-hop influences. Raury’s quick-fire delivery on “Higher” breezes past the hard-hitting drums and teetering synths as Ferg ponders over the loss of his father on closing track “Voices In My Head” (which also features Warpaint) over a woozy soundscape. In both tracks, we hear the rappers address their past; but where the former flows without a hitch, the latter’s fragmented thoughts are mirrored by the disjointed soundscape.

On the title-track, Sampha’s impeccably poignant vocals resonate with immense clarity over the reverbed bass and layered electronics, and youngster Denai Moore’s soft intonations enchant in “The Light.” Yet, they find themselves drowned out by track’s either preceding or succeeding them. Caroline Polachek‘s feature on “Look Away” remains the album’s most experimental; its cacophonous instrumentation is all over the place.

Similarly, the instrumental fillers “Day 5” and “Osea” don’t seem to fit properly in the overall context of the record. The attempt at transitioning from one track to another comes across as almost forced. Despite the oddities dotted around the LP, Wonder Where We Land certainly has its moments of glory and, without a doubt, is a strong collection of songs.

Must Read

Exploring an Eclectic Mix of Music

Bored with the musical offerings lately? Then get out of your comfort zone and find some new music in new genres you may have...

4 New Books About Music Perfect for Winter Snowstorms

It’s the middle of winter, and there’s not much going on. Television will be preempted by the Olympics. Opportunities to get outside are scarce....

Ingrid Michaelson: ‘Time Machine’ Music Video Review

Ingrid Michaelson is involved in some of the most creative music videos I’ve ever seen. She loves to turn things on their head just...

Related Articles

Exploring an Eclectic Mix of Music

Bored with the musical offerings lately? Then get out of your comfort zone and find some new music in new genres you may have...

4 New Books About Music Perfect for Winter Snowstorms

It’s the middle of winter, and there’s not much going on. Television will be preempted by the Olympics. Opportunities to get outside are scarce....

Ingrid Michaelson: ‘Time Machine’ Music Video Review

Ingrid Michaelson is involved in some of the most creative music videos I’ve ever seen. She loves to turn things on their head just...

The 10 Best Fictional Bands: Jem, St. Pepper, The Folksmen and More

The Wonders Tom Hanks was fresh off an unprecedented string of hit movies as a leading man when he decided to try his hand...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here