Album Review: Disclosure - Settle

Album Reviews
06/04/2013
Gerrit Feenstra

There's been one name on the lips of every credible music news source for the last two weeks: Disclosure. The band has been gaining buzz with excellent singles and some great international dance chart action in the six months, but two weeks out from their album's release, the duo - Surrey brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence - have been on a blitzkrieg. Dropping the driving rapture of "When A Fire Starts to Burn" and the killer hook of "F For You", followed with a full album stream on The Guardian, Disclosure started a spontaneous combustion. People can't shut up about them, and all for good reason. The brothers (ages 22 and 19) have done an incredible amount of work in their few years towards dialing in to a brilliant, unique, and sustainable sound. With their debut record Settle, Disclosure explodes on to the scene with an hour of pure, unadulterated dance genius.

Typically, dance records are not directly associated with longevity. The scene changes so suddenly and so drastically that it's really incredible when someone puts out a track or a set of tracks that maintains relevance past a couple years. That being said, the Lawrence brothers have done their homework. Settle isn't exclusively retro or exclusively trendy. It also successfully walks a common line between tracks while pulling from bits and pieces of dance history from the late 80s forward. More than anything, Settle echoes the UK garage and 2-step rave tracks that the Lawrences grew up on. On their mellower tracks, the brothers give us a really authentic modern take on deep house, jazzing up their chords and tripping out the vibe. But when the energy is turned up (like on Disclosure's biggest breakout hit yet "White Noise"), you find the perfect rave track, echoing all the sentiment of a classic warehouse party. Touching nearly every probable effect in between, Disclosure take us on a personable and engaging trip through their scene's history, but not once does Settle feel like a throwback record. On cuts like "Latch", the brothers throw in bits of dub and modern house that contemporize them alongside the best of independent dance music.

On Monday, Settle reached #1 on UK iTunes charts within 12 hours - there's no doubt that in the Lawrences' home country, this is a huge release. But Disclosure have learned how to carefully balance pop gratuity with artistic finesse. Even on their most bombastic releases, the formula never gets too derivative, and the monotony or predictability never drop to mainstream American EDM levels (thank goodness). Rather, Settle is all about driving passion - just listen to the intro blurb that starts the record. "How do you stay motivated?" the invigorated narrator begs. When a scene like Disclosure's is so over-populated with garbage that makes its way to the top with no barrier to entry, it's frustrating. But whatever motivation has compelled these two brothers is a divine one, because Settle does anything but settle for middle of the pack. Disclosure begin this new chapter of their career with a bang.

Settle is out today in the U.S.! You can listen to the whole record via The Guardian now. Disclosure has not announced any Seattle dates at this time.

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