Review Summary: Deep house beats, complex synth rhythms, and several guest vocals permeate an album destined for much more than dance clubs
Since releasing the single 'Latch' in October 2012, the electronic music duo of brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence have been dubbed the “saviors of UK dance music.” Constructing beats and synthesized rhythms similar to the likes of The Chemical Brothers and Burial, Disclosure have certainly earned that title. The two are young, but wise for their age. They have now released their debut full-length album "Settle" to very positive reviews.
The album begins with a short, one-minute-on-the-nose introduction track that does its purpose; introduces the album. Following is 'When a Fire Starts to Burn,' featuring a vocal sample by someone who may or may not be Chris Rock (he sounds awfully like him, but I can’t be sure). The song has its moments, but the repeating sample throughout grows tired after about the two-minute mark. Lead single 'Latch' is next on the roster, and will certainly rope back anyone bored with the album after the first two tracks. A booming house track with full-bodied vocals from British singer/songwriter Sam Smith, it could easily have been the first track on the album, as it’s the song that really gets things going. Another single from the album, 'White Noise,' is perhaps more infectious than 'Latch.' A collaboration with another English electronic music duo, AlunaGeorge – made up of Aluna Francis and George Reid – the word “catchy” has never been more appropriate to describe a song until this one. The constantly-loudening bass line makes it impossible not to tap your feet to. Aluna’s child-like voice sounds almost pitch-shifted at first, which makes it all the more impressive, and George’s production is slick and sweet.
Ed Macfarlane of Friendly Fires features on 'Defeated No More.' I love Friendly Fires, and Macfarlane, so I was excited to see him appear here. Unfortunately, the track is a little flat and didn’t bring much to the table. But don’t worry Ed; I still love you. And I’m still waiting on the new Friendly Fires album! The third single from the album features vocals from indie pop singer/songwriter Eliza Doolittle – most famous for her song 'Skinny Genes' – is called 'You & Me' and has a relatively chilled-out vibe, but able to sound quite frantic at times. It’s a very big change in direction for Doolittle but she adapts well and sounds like she’s in her comfort zone, something that always translates well to the listener. A more likely collaboration is 'Confess to Me,' on which UK garage and synthpop singer/songwriter Jessie Ware contributes her vocals. Ware has been described by “Clash” magazine as “the missing link between Adele, SBTRKT, and Sade” and adds the perfect amount of vocal prowess. English band London Grammar – often compared to The xx and with their own album being released later this month – bring with them a bit of a cool-down on the final track Help Me Lose My Mind.' It doesn’t feel that necessary, and falls a bit flat, but overall is a fairly well written and composed song.
Disclosure are a fresh, new band with an interesting sound that evokes memories of the best of the UK garage scene.