Twenty-something siblings, Guy and Howard Lawrence, are Disclosure, an English electronic music duo who first saw success with their buzzworthy 2012 project, The Face EP. This would later lead to their first UK hit single, “Latch”, in October of 2012, to be followed by a string of successful hits, including “You & Me” and “White Noise”. With the hit machine in full-swing, there’s no better time than the present for the release of their full-length debut, Settle.
Settle is almost the definitive UK answer to the big, agressive dance music sounds of their Swedish and Dutch neighbors, as Disclosure instead takes a pared down, minimalist approach. While the UK Garage sub-genre of house music has taken a back seat to the grandiose EDM sound, Disclosure have successfully resurrected the genre with likable album of smart, danceable British pop.
The album opener, “Fire Starts To Burn”, is pretty much unlike anything else on the record, in terms of structure, as they loop the voice of a motivational speaker, and the build a solid groove on top of it. While this humorous approach is the only song of its kind on the album, it sets up the rest of the record nicely, as it shows off their knack for employing quirky sounds to drive their soulful, yet unsophisticated cuts. You can’t help but get drawn in to tracks like “White Noise” and “Confess To Me” that later employ this tactic, trading samples for sung vocals.
The lyrical delivery of songs like “White Noise”, “F For U”, and “You & Me” has almost 80′s freestyle, skating rink quality to them, paired with Disclosure’s subterranean production style, giving them a sound like little else. As the album progresses, they go deeper, with more soulful, vibey tracks like “Defeated No More” and “Voices” taking the spotlight. J. Dilla would be proud, and even more so that they sampled his voice later on “Grab Her”, despite it being one of the record’s weaker tracks.
The vocal cuts are the album’s strongest moments, as things stray a little off course on the album’s instrumental selections. While “Fire Starts To Burn” is one of the album’s best songs, Settle’s other vocal free moments don’t quite fare as well. This includes the off kilter Kelis reworking “Second Chance”, as well as the redundant “Simulation”.
Settle is a refreshing change of pace, as Disclosure define just what a difference there is in the definition of “pop music” to UK and US audiences. We love our big room bangers, confetti blasts, and festivals, but Disclosure’s simplistic, soulful style separates them from the rest.
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