ALBUM REVIEW: SBTRKT ‘Wonder Where We Land’


London-based producer Aaron Jerome has certainly been toiling and tinkering away behind his uncanny tribal-ish phizog. The storm of success following his debut seems to have driven his desire to produce something that is quantitatively epic; new release Wonder Where We Land comes in at fifteen tracks, with an additional six bonus tracks available on every version of the release you could shake a stick at. This odyssey of a track listing allows for diversity and experimentation across the album with more collaborations and shifts in tone, neatly fitting the SBTRKT model.

Jerome’s much-loved playmate Sampha makes many appearances, some tracks such as ‘Temporary View’ carry a familiar and charmingly soulful pitter-patter and ‘If It Happens’ is a slow, pained and undeniably beautiful respite in the middle of the electronic clamour. Sadly this handful of joy is also matched with entirely routine and drab outputs from the duo, with title track ‘Wonder Where We Land’ struggling to avoid being limp and uninspired despite the use of extraterrestrial bleeps and squeaks.

‘Higher’ allows rapper Raury to take the spotlight. The exquisitely deep bass notes that underpin the album provide a grand backdrop to what is little more than unremarkable brag-hop, whereas ‘Voices In My Head’ uses A$AP Ferg’s lyrical rhythm with far more intelligence and dignity. Also featured on this track are none other than blissful art-rockers Warpaint, showing up again later on the ethereal madness of ‘War Drums’ and offering the most consistent contribution.

Leading single ‘NEW DORP. NEW YORK’ is a fine representation of the unmissed potential and hit-and-miss trend of the record, it possesses undeniable funk that kills itself by droning incessantly and countering any of Ezra Keoning’s NYC charm.

There are undeniably moments of greatness scattered throughout Wonder Where We Land, Jerome is showing his finer side when he flexes his electronic prowess in frantic delights such as ‘Lantern’, but there is definitely more quantity than quality here.

Wonder Where We Land is out now via Young Turks Recordings Ltd.

Luke Savage