Review Summary: Tranquility reigns
I first heard Disclosure
in possibly the ideal circumstances; I was unfamiliar with the band's back catalogue, so it was impossible for me to subconciously weigh this up against their past works, or to compare Silje Wergeland to Anneke van Giersbergen. All I could do was listen to Disclosure as a standalone album on its own terms rather than as a piece of a larger whole. This worked fine for me, as I had absolutely no expectations for it.
The opener Paper Waves
presents the album perfectly, with its gentle guitar strumming, calm atmosphere and Silje's angelic vocals. The soothing effect created by the combination of a simple, mesmerizing rhythm section and synths that are used subtly and yet are still vital to the song as a whole quickly draws the listener into a relaxed state of mind that never lets up throughout the album. The slightly distorted guitar licks towards the end highlight another aspect of the album; it never really rocks out. Instead, all of the louder guitar parts are there to support the atmosphere of the song, rather than to make it heavier. The only exeception to this is the brief section in the middle of lead single Meltdown
, which adds a gritty, driving element to the song.
However, on the whole Disclosure is a gentle album that relies on subtle dynamics and a powerful blend of instruments that compliments Silje's voice as a whole. The resounding Gemini I
is every bit as powerful as the beautifully soft Paralyzed
, showing that although every song on the album has more or less the same effect on the listener (i.e. tranquility), The Gathering manage to achieve this effect on the listener in a variety of ways, keeping the album both interesting and cohesive. Disclosure is also consistant in terms of quality; it is very hard to pick a standout track because every song here is excellent. The only comparatively weak track is I Can See Four Miles
, which seems to be more unfocused than any other track, and builds up to a sweeping violin-driven climax, slightly reminiscent of Arcade Fire's In the Backseat
, that never really hits home. Although there are no exceptionally outstanding tracks, the album's finest moment is the 10 minute Heroes for Ghosts
, which is effectively a display of everything that makes the album great being performed to perfection.
The main complaint that I have with Disclosure is that it is, perhaps, a little too focused on the hypnotically peaceful vibe created by Silje's voice and the supporting atmospheres. Although it allows the album to flow effectively, it also makes it slightly one-dimensional, with the result that it does not lend itself well to repeated listens within a short space of time. Admittedly, I can tell tell that the band did their best to avoid this with a decent variety of instrumental parts, but since the overall effect of the music remains the same, this was not enough to save it from becoming slightly dreary. I am being harsh here, because it would be unfair to only mention its positive aspects, and Disclosure remains a very pleasent experience as long as it is not listened to excessively.
is a sublime experience from an experienced band. It has enough cohesion to allow the lack of variety to go unnoticed, and demostrates very clearly the difference between an exciting album and an immersive album. It takes two or three listens to really appreciate it, but once it grows on you, it will reward each listen consistently.
Lack of standout tracks
Slightly monotonous (a side effect of the cohesion)
I Can See Four Miles isn't as good as the other tracks
1. Heroes for Ghosts
3. Paper Waves
4. Gemini I
5. Missing Seasons