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The menacing bass that opens 'NEW DORP. NEW YORK' was more than a little shocking when SBTRKT revealed the track online back in July. The London-based producer had never released anything quite like it and arriving, as it did, alongside the announcement of his sophomore record, it signalled an interesting change direction. Sure, 'NEW DORP. NEW YORK' isn't a million miles away from Aaron Jerome's debut record, but here was something more industrial - a track that clanged and rattled, a tribal hymn to a city that never sleeps. Sirens sound in the distance, whilst the beat seems to have been recorded by hitting several empty dustbins. Fittingly the video released for the track features a shadowed creature stalking the streets of a familiar, yet imagined metropolis at night.

Unfortunately Wonder Where We Land, doesn't continue this supposed direction and aside from one other track ('Gon Stay'), SBTRKT's second album sticks close to the template provided by its predecessor. The blend of dubstep, clubland and house that informed SBTRKT still sounds great here, and with Jerome building up his roster of guest vocalists - including rappers Raury and A$AP Ferg alongside Ezra Koenig and Caroline Polachek - there is plenty to enjoy. It's just a shame that the initial promise of something new failed to materialise.

The only track that really stands out alongside 'NEW DORP. NEW YORK' is the aforementioned 'Gon Stay'. It opens with clattering percussion, metallic and bright, almost tropical. That's soon switched out for a funky, clean bass riff - out of all of SBTRKT's tracks to date, this is the one that runs closest to using live, traditional instrumentation. There are small glimmers of electronics during the song, a twinkling synthesiser here and there, but for the most part the percussion and bass is the focus, with Jerome eschewing the usual beats that have become his signature.

The backing of 'Gon Stay' also works as a perfect compliment to returning vocalist Sampha. His cracked, mournful vocal is an interesting counter to the optimistic, clean music that surrounds him and goes to show just how successful his continuing collaboration with SBTRKT is, as well as offering a sense that there are plenty more routes for the duo to explore. Alongside Jessie Ware (another vocalist who appeared on SBTRKT's debut) he's the most at ease on this new record. Whilst not always offering anything new, 'Wonder Where We Land', 'Temporary View' and 'Problem Solved' all stand up as album highlights.

This probably suggests that Jerome is more attuned as to how to get the best out of them and how to compliment their particular styles. Jessie Ware's vocal on 'Problem Solved', for example, is set against a pretty piano melody in the verses, that captures more of an R&B vibe. Jerome also uses subtle synth chords that blend with Ware's sustained notes, blurring the line between her and the instruments, and adding a level of intricacy that's as misleading as it is beautiful.

Conversely, this greater level of comfort with Sampha and Jessie Ware, also highlights the difficulty the album has escaping the shadow of SBTRKT. There's a sense of familiarity to the record that begins to wear thin - 'Temporary View' in particular has shades of 'Hold On' and 'Wildfire' and really shows how little has changed in the last three years.

The new line-up of guest vocalists help to add a fresh dimension to Wonder Where We Land with Raury's performance on 'Higher' being a particular highlight. His fast flow is matched by an equally up-tempo synth arpeggio, the two often seeming to be in cahoots with one another (particularly as they both slow down towards the end). Raury also brings a more political edge to the track referencing Martin Luther King and racial segregation, yet delivered in a bona-fide party track.

Denai Moore also offers up a great performance on penultimate track 'The Light'. Here repetition is the key stylistic element, whether it's the looping of Moore's lyrics or the various synth patterns that operate in short, passages with little variation. It's not a particularly complicated track but in the end it proves to be an interesting, cyclical experience. Unfortunately the same can't be said of Caroline Polachek's appearance on 'Look Away' - easily the weakest moment on the record (apart from the two unnecessary and short instrumental tracks early on). The mix of warped piano and clinking percussion is a mess, which is not helped by the fact the track seems to succumb to clipping. Polachek's vocals are over modified and really weaken her performance. It's a shame as she has a beautiful, haunting voice, yet here it's twisted and manipulated when it could just be left to shine on it's own merits. A$AP Ferg doesn't get off much better, ending the record on a rather mediocre rap track. The chorus is obnoxious and in general we've just come to expect more from him - especially after the excellent Trap Lord record from last year.

Overall, Wonder Where We Land isn't a bad record, it's just not a particularly inspiring one. For all the talk of expanding on the sound of his debut, SBTRKT seems to be treading water and unsure of where to go next. As a result the tracks here, whilst enjoyable and (for the most part) produced extremely well, amount to a record that lacks the impact of SBTRKT's debut.

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