A young UK duo that's cool — but not so cool they forget to work up a real sweat
The debut album by UK duo Disclosure revives a formula so old it seems new again: Bring together honed house beats, bittersweet hooks, and singers who exude cosmopolitan savoir faire, and then sell the package with a media-friendly image of attractive young people. It seems ridiculously simple on paper, but dance music bargain bins the world over are literally littered with the efforts of the foolhardy — Tiësto! Dev! the Adventures of Stevie V! — who’ve gotten at least one of those elements terribly wrong.
Disclosure don’t. Brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence — a 21-year-old J. Dilla fanatic and an 18-year-old Kate Bush fan, respectively — understand club music instinctively, and their tracks seethe with rhythmic and textural details without getting bogged down. In other words, they’re cool but not so cool they forget to work up a real sweat.
Settle starts with a sampled motivational preacher synched to a beat, a classic house trope. Songs like “Latch” and the irresistible “White Noise” — both substantial UK hits already — follow, and those in turn are interspersed with chanting cuts like “F for U” that temper the pop with R&B, another tactic the brothers pull off gracefully: Their embrace of divergent vocal sensibilities over consistently uptempo rhythms is refreshingly natural and corn-free.
The final three song stretch — typically where the filler resides on club albums — is instead an unabashed victory lap: Howard even sings ably, as he proves in “Confess to Me,” dueting with an alternatingly sultry and ecstatic Jessie Ware. Settle ultimately seals the deal because in this impatient age of instant gratification, it delivers consistent instant pleasure with enough sustenance to sustain repeated plays. It’s going to be kicking (and moving) asses all summer long and beyond.