Review: Disclosure 'Settle'

Let's just say that the fans are on their feet, and the anticipation for this 14-track bundle of joy has been really real. We've even seen Disclosure stickers plastered all over Crown Street on our way to Pie Face, which always makes our steak and mushroom lunchtime adventures that much more exciting.

These Brit lords first visited the country during the 2012/2013 transition, they absolutely murked it, and they told us that they'll be back soon - which is fantastic news considering Settle is a fucking enjoyable album. This might be 2013's most hyped dance release besides Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, but considering that Daft Punk are two French veterans who dress up in robot suits and have their own racecar, it's exciting to see these two guys (who are barely out of their teens, by the way) garner so much acclaim on their debut release.

Now the strength of singles 'Latch', 'White Noise' and 'You & Me' make it glaringly obvious that these siblings are onto something special. 'Latch' really needs no explanation, we already named it one of our favourite tracks of 2012, and we actually don't think we've met anyone who dislikes this track. If we do, they're probably not worth knowing anyway.

Anyway, all three of these singles display two things about Disclosure. Firstly, they have an uncanny ability to collaborate with vocalists to create beautifully cathartic, emotive dance numbers. Just try and listen to the Eliza Doolittle-assisted ‘You & Me’ without shedding a tear and replaying your own mental slideshow of all them cute dates you took your ex-missus on. ‘White Noise’ does much to highlight fellow rising Brits AlunaGeorge, and bonus points for having an amazing video clip and an even more amazing remix courtesy of Hudson Mohawke.

Secondly, it also makes it clear that these guys have infinite pop potential. Like this is chart music that you can listen to proudly without having to lie to your tote bag-carrying friends who frown on anything within a five kilometre radius of a commercial radio station. Not that those people are worth impressing anyway, but this record is accessible and wholesome at the same time, and won’t make you feel guilty like that one time you maybe/almost certainly enjoyed a Pitbull song.

Aside from the singles, other tracks herald the old-school sounds of Chicago and Detroit with success – an even more impressive feat considering that these dudes were not even born/still babies back then. It’s kind of like Joey Bada$$ rapping like he grew up alongside Nas and the Wu-Tang Clan despite being a few years shy of drinking age in the States, and the grittiness of tracks like the J Dilla-sampling ‘Grab Her’ ensures that older heads may be looking at house music’s younger producers with interest. Also, sampling J Dilla always earns you brownie points in our books.

Another way to win a special place in our hearts? Collaborate with Jessie Ware. They remixed her track ‘Running’ previously, did a live rendition together at this year’s Coachella, and now she lends herself to ‘Confess To Me’. With Ware presenting a similar basket of R&B-soaked dance numbers with her catalogue, this is a sultry match made in heaven that just oozes with attitude. Another highlight comes with ‘January’ featuring Jamie Woon, with the frantic tempo and synths jabbing underneath Woon’s luxuriously smooth crooning.

In case you couldn’t tell, we’ve got a real preference for the vocal tracks on this album – probably because we treasure the real connection that these romantic dancefloor numbers provide. Therein comes the most obvious criticism for the duo – that their first record has simply become a showcase for other artists and vocalists. However, while divergent, the production on Settle is consistent in quality and enough for us to have this record on repeat.

With so much debate surrounding dance music – and house music in particular – with regards to its commercial appeal, it will be interesting to see how Disclosure walk this ever-fine line with their shining pop abilities. These dudes are still growing up. No doubt that relentless touring (Disclosure are playing 39 festivals this year) will have a profound effect next time they step in the studio. We can’t wait.

By Christopher Kevin Au from Pagesdigital