Impressively, brothers Guy and Howard of Disclosure were able to abandon the bravado some new artists take on to mask the overt sense of intimidation they feel for making a name for themselves within their genre. What’s even more impressive? The UK newcomers take this on in a genre older and likely more respected than they are; and if there’s one thing the UK does well, it’s electronica. It’s a genre that has become so ubiquitous, it’s almost audacious for 19 and 22 year old artists to challenge its popularity by putting forth a debut album that refuses to echo the work of electro-house pioneers, but rather sets it’s own mode by employing an original flavor that yields a completely thorough, honest, body of work.
What makes Settle great as a debut album is that it’s a consistent catalogue that doesn’t try to fit within the pressures of the commercial framework by artists that don’t rely too heavily on their influences, but rather, create merely based off of what they know and feel. Disclosure didn’t go overboard on the features—a mistake very many new artists make—with the likes of fellow UK artists like AlunaGeorge, Eliza Doolittle, and Jessie Ware, each collaboration merely enhances the respective songs, but we still get a sense of who Disclosure are. Settle sometimes lacks a strong lyrical component, perhaps because of the brothers’ self-admitted lack of songwriting abilities. But each dance floor love track like “White Noise” hums the perfect words to balance out the production. Aluna Francis sings “Only you can look at me the way you do/you always tint me, tint me black and blue/such a shame, you frame me with such disdain/you got me washed out, washed out, color drained.” The lyrics don’t overwhelm you and give you just enough to relate to, and enough to dance to. The beauty is that you can tell Disclosure was having fun with the album while never taking themselves too seriously.
What Disclosure lacks in the verbal they make up for in all other senses of creativity. The highlight of the album is the dance numbers, but there are even touches of neo soul and post modern R&B that do the album in. “Latch” features the velvety vocals of Sam Smith. It’s loaded with lightheartedness and a touch of longing. It sounds a little Usher, but is distinctive enough to still get a spin in your local dance club without you thinking it’s him. Songs like “Second Chance” are a testament to how well the production on Settle is executed. It’s oozy and slinky, and each sound is like a roller coaster ride filled with sonic waves and fluidity. The frenetic zing of each instrument makes it noticeably difficult to refrain yourself from moving about and the occasional skip of each beat proves why. We can see many of the tracks being played out at any ambient dance club, and one thing’s for certain: Disclosure won’t be going anywhere for a long, long time.