Ambitious like James Blake, and freewheeling like the London dubstep scene he’s lit up for two years, SBTRKT (real name Aaron Jerome) tries a lot of things on his debut — and succeeds at most. Guest vocalist Sampha evokes Blake’s parched croon, only SBTRKT is far more urgent and playful than Blake’s album. The vocal-driven songs have an irresistible R&B-once-removed hookiness: Basement Jaxx would kill to have made the buoyant, 2-step garage throwback “Pharoahs.” Elsewhere, “Something Goes Right,” “Ready Set Loop,” and “Sanctuary” have a starry-eyed quality that’s grounded by the intricately skipping rhythms and, particularly on the grinding “Wildfire,” mutant mega-bass.
Listen to “Wildfire”:
• Artist of the Week: James Blake
This review was updated to reflect the following: SBTRKT’s real name is Aaron Jerome; and Sampha appears as a guest vocalist.