Disclosure – Settle (Album Review)

Posted by on June 12, 2013


These days, it’s hard to do much of anything on the internet without encountering heaps of reverential praise for the British brother-duo better known as Disclosure. They’ve become the de facto poster children for what’s cool in 2013 and have amassed a following that includes both hipster indie pop enthusiasts and their ravier twenty-something counterparts. Back in March, I remember perusing the calendar at one of my favorite clubs and noticing that they had sold out that upcoming Friday — the first Friday of the second weekend of Ultra, as it were. Not only did this not register with me at the time, but I didn’t even bother to catch them in Miami. Quelle folie. I am usually slow to warm up to bandwagon-y new groups, probably due to the fact that I am effectively a huge music snob in denial, but sometimes the hype becomes too great to overlook and bandwagons get harder and harder to ignore. In the case of Disclosure (and their now very considerable bandwagon), I can confirm that all the hype is utterly justified.

To listen to Disclosure is to assume they’re far older than their respective 19 and 22 years. They are in total command of their material — which, as a friend recently put it, feels distinctly like “1983 if all the tools and technology of 2013 had existed.” This seems particularly true at so many moments on Settle, the duo’s debut album and a strong early contender for best album of the summer.

The slickly produced Settle is at times soulful, at times funky, at times contagiously upbeat and at times beautifully wistful. It’s retro without seeming forced, tired, or overly literal; paradoxically, there is something decidedly modern about all of its throwbacky sensibilities. The best way to describe it may simply be chic. Anyone with a Random Access Memories hangover would be well served by Settle — and its tight vocal harmonies, and the kicky spin it puts on the four-on-the-floor-rim-shots-rinse-repeat house formula.

Standout tracks include: “White Noise” and its diabolically simple theme, which has been making the rounds for several months. “You & Me” — for which a remix package already appears to be forthcoming. “Voices” puts a fresh, updated spin on the funky, jazzy tropes it invokes. “F For You” and its rhythmic progression beg to be danced to. “Stimulation” is a thonking house walloper with a deceptively minimal vibe. “Help Me Lose My Mind,” is, as Philip Sherburne puts it, “pretty much tailor-made to be the last song the DJ plays on the most heartbreakingly perfect night of your life — preferably on a beach in Croatia, staring into the eyes of the love of your life, or at least the next 72 hours of your life.” Wow. That’s a strong statement, but it definitely rings true.

Hopefully by now it’s clear that you need to download this album if you haven’t already. The good folks at The Guardian also have the entire album available to stream if you’re not convinced.

Stream at The Guardian

Buy on iTunes: Disclosure – Settle

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