15 September 2013

Disclosure - Settle

As part of the Mercury Prize week, we're reviewing all the nominated albums of 2013. Now the first thing that came up on the internet when I began doing some research on this act was Disclosure of The Expenses Claim of The Members of Parliament. I was half-surprised by this, but relevant to this page? Probably not but very possibly an inspiration for the naming of this Reigate, Surrey garage/house music outfit.

Disclosure comprises of brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence, both born in the early 1990s about the time that dance music was branching out into various genres and beginning to put daylight between itself and its forefathers like Technotronic, 2Unlimited etc, all rather twee and possibly a tad outdated now (one 2Unltd song I absolutely abhor, can you guess what it is?). The Lawrences are clearly inspired by The Prodigy as well as Future Sound Of London, but while we have seemingly become accustomed to seeing too many ageing DJs spinning the records onstage 20 years later, Guy and Howard are two fresh faced characters barely out of their teens with an impressive plethora of ideas in tow. Sam Wolfson from The Guardian heralds them as "rebooting dance culture" which is a big claim. Let's see if there's any substance in it.

Onto Settle, the Mercury nominated album. The two Reigate gentlemen's debut album, it's essentially a mixture of garage and synthpop with plenty of vocalists to boot. In fact the credits lists many singers from the same generation. Eliza Doolittle is one such act I'm sure many of you are already familiar with, but then there's Sam Smith and Sasha Keable with their own personal influences you can relate to with Gnarls Barkley and Kelly Llorenna.

To the floor fillers first then I'll get on to the single releases. Grab Her! has what sounds like an electronic Gamelan orchestra and Second Chance appears to sample a few snippets from Ana Matronic (Scissor Sisters) while F For You (the uncredited singer sings Fool For You) marches on with some interesting lyrical hooks. The more notable tracks on this as I said are of Miss Doolittles' and I have certainly liked AlunaGeorge's contribution in White Noise. What I'm not enamoured with is When The Fire Starts To Burn with the repetitive rap line. With the power of impartiality I suppose that it's not too bad and it runs reasonably along well with the bassline, but not quite my cup of the frothiest cappuccino. Thankfully, Help Me Lose My Mind (with London Grammar) sounds a little more acoustic and adds some necessary pep to the record.

Ok, I'll be brutally honest. Settle has for me bursed some surprises, none of them unpleasant, and while some songs from this piece haven't completely endeared to me, the important thing that shines out to the world is its maturity and confidence. And with one or two critics heralding the dawn of "Disclosuremania", it's a big shout but from my perspective, they're a quiet revelation and certainly able to rub shoulders with Daft Punk and David Guetta  comfortably. So let's see if they can follow in the footsteps of Franz Ferdinand and Dizzee Rascal in winning the Mercury gong.

7 out of ten. This is good and well worth a check.

Buy the album here on Amazon
Follow Disclosure on their official website here
Listen to Settle here on Deezer

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