We all secretly knew that SBTRKT couldn’t pull off his fantastic debut again. This sophomore release, Wonder Where We Land, says, if anything, that while he has great control over his electronic-music technique, his songwriting could use some more work. Maybe he went for too much, too soon. There’s only about 5 tracks that I absolutely can’t stand, but the rest kind of makes up for it, which isn’t really something that should ever be said about a record.
It’s also interesting to think about the relationship between SBTRKT and Sampha. Looking back on SBTRKT’s self-titled debut album, what makes the album is not just his smooth electronic swells, but his featured vocals from Sampha & Jessie Ware. Funny how, now looking at Wonder Where We Land, that those same artists appear again, and make the songs pretty good, as they did before. It begs the question, what is SBTRKT without Sampha? The album also features sub-par use of Vampire Weekend frontman, Ezra Koenig, and just use in general of A$AP Ferg, which should always be avoided.
As a last thought, when we look at SBTRKT, we look for innovation, as with the first record, but maybe that was a one time thing, not every artist can keep consistent. Maybe he’ll be one of those artist’s that bounce back and figure it out on their next release, or maybe he’s just one of those innovators who bust out a fantastic debut, and then turn it over to the next artist once they can’t replicate their initial brilliance. We’ll just have to wait and wonder where he lands.