By Derek Baker, February 23 2016 —
Brooklyn-based artist Jean-Philip Grobler, better known by the alias St. Lucia, has recently made a name for himself in the electronica music scene. Originally born in South Africa, the songwriter earned a following with his solid debut, When The Night. After a few years touring worldwide with a full backing band, including a botched date at last year’s cancelled X-Fest, Grobler returns with his second studio album, Matter.
The album is filled with pounding synths and drum machines, highlighted by Grobler’s strong falsetto. Despite attempts to create an organic sound, the record is still dominated by synth-pop and doesn’t deviate much in style from his last album.
Matter opens with “Do You Remember.” It’s an exuberant track, but it doesn’t quite set the stage for rest of the album. That task is accomplished by “Home,” which follows with a darker and
stronger sound more representative of what’s to come.
Previously released singles “Dancing on Glass” and “Physical” come next, and both are worthy standouts. The former conveys the importance of living in the present instead of fixating on the future, while the latter is a sensual track brimming with suggestive imagery.
“Game 4 U” is arguably the best track on Matter, combining poignant lyrics with a danceable moderate tempo, creating a reserved and thoughtful combination. “I always knew my heart is just a game for you,” Grobler sings, mourning an unreciprocated love. Combined with the airy “The Winds of Change,” the album finds Grobler exploring more emotional ground on Matter than in his previous work.
“Love Somebody” slows down the album at its midpoint, offering a slow jam in a record filled with maximalist synths.
Closing off the album is “Always.” Like the record’s opener, the lack of an exaggerated percussion beat makes the track feel out of place, but it still ties a bow on the whole package.
Matter sees St. Lucia exploring a fuller sound, though not all his experiments succeed. But with most songs clocking in around the five-minute mark, the album is filled with exciting, fleshed-out tracks worthy of a spot on your playlist.