Starting out with chunky, retro-leaning 2-step workouts like "2020" and "Laika," SBTRKT established himself as someone who could mince old styles into complex pastiches that somehow fit into the futurist dialogue of bass music But when he was scooped up by prominent indie Young Turks, it seemed like something changed: a track like "Look At Stars" had all the melodic brilliance of SBTRKT's best work but the 2-step references were replaced by a cleaner, more modern palette of clean lines, contoured chord progressions and midtempo structures.
By and large, that's the sound we get on SBTRKT's eponymous debut album. There's only a trace of the garage aesthetic that used to define his work, and while there's still a definite skip here it's a post-genre apparatus rather than a continuum-referencing device. SBTRKT is a pop album, not a dance album. All but three of the tracks have verses, chorus, lyrics, everything. Instead of pasting vocals over busy tracks or forcing melodies in between complex beats, SBTRKT does everything he can to make his tracks suitable for these vocals (the subtle harmonic layering on "Trials of the Past" is something to behold).