Dave’s Albums of 2011
3. SBTRKT by SBTRKT
SBTRKT’s debut begins with the understated Heatwave, a little building track with interesting percussion and cool electronic sounds. A taste of what’s to come.
[If I haven’t mentioned this already on the musical adventure I will point it out now. I love the understated opener on an album, preferably a couple of minutes of instrumental, nothing too grand. Many of my all time favourite albums begin this way, such as Parachutes, The Velvet Underground & Nico, Melancholy & The Infinite Sadness, Silent Alarm (Every Time Is The Last Time is a hidden pre-track), XX and Lucky Shiner.]
The xylophone-led Hold On follows, my highlight of the record. Sampha’s singing is delicate and full of emotion, while the the techno-like beat gives it a gentle dancey vibe. My other standout moment comes on Sanctuary. The song begins instrumental: rising, falling and rising again, all the time gradually waiting for climax. Pause. There are some ah’s. It’s getting louder. And then bam! The vocals hit in fantastically to a furore of excitement: “If I could love you babe, maybe I could hold you down.”
This is an album packed with great songs, many sung by Sampha, his adorable smile peeking out from under his mask, as well as some brilliant performances from female vocalists Jessie Ware, Roses Gabor and Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano. With SBTRKT’s background in producing and drumming, it is little surprise these elements of the record are strong. As Joe Colly points out in his review for Pitchfork, although SBTRKT has a post-dubstep association – most evident in the bass heavy Right Thing To Do – the album is more instantly accessible than his contemporaries. He finds a nice balance between dancefloor hits and emotional depth, often within the same song.
I can’t wait to this performed live in February!