Disclosure have become a big name in the last year with releases such as Latch and White Noise. To continue with this swell of popularity recieved from these singles, Disclosure will be dopping their album Settle 31/5/13 . All being big fans of Disclosure here at Stoney, we have decided to do a ’round table discussion’ style of review of the album as apposed to giving a single author perspective; think of it as three different reviews rolled into one. Although, there are some great tracks on here, we were all independently left with feelings of wanting a little more.
Intro / When A Fire Starts To Burn
Sandro: Three pop-minded singles preceded the release of Settle, so some Disclosure fans were concerned that the album would stray away from the sound of earlier club-based tracks like ‘Tenderly’ and ‘Flow’. Howard Lawrence told us that this concern was unfounded, and the LP kicks off with some proof of that.
Kish: This is an interesting way to start the album. It’s less an intro and more a prelude to When A Fire Starts To Burn and thinking of it that way makes me like it a lot more. When A Fire Starts To Burn is the perfect club track. Armed with a catchy melody and a repetitive vocal that successfully avoids being completely annoying – it’s the perfect warm up track to what I’m hoping is going to be a classic album.
Ben: This track has taken a little while to grow on me. I feel like there is not a whole lot to hold onto except for the main ostinato that roles in from start to finish. It’s not bad, but it’s not a great track.
Latch feat. Sam Smith
Sandro: Endlessly played but never rinsed, ‘Latch’ is catchy enough to get stuck in everyone’s head, but sonically adventurous enough to keep music nerds coming back for more. The bar for electronic pop music rests here.
Kish: Thrown back into the arms of familiarity and a classically Disclosure track, Latch will always be one of my favourites.
Ben: Classic track from these guys, it really is representative of Disclosure’s talents; strong memorable melodies, great layering and composition and of course chilled vibes.
F For U
Sandro: Very tight production, but no amount of Disclosure magic can make Howard Lawrence’s voice sound anything less than dull. Not bad, but it’s certainly not album-worthy.
Kish: The ‘F’ word isn’t what you think it will be. I like the bass line and the underlying funkiness but even the slight excitement of a naughty word possibly being thrown in there isn’t enough to save this from being quite lacklustre.
Ben: I heard this and was immeadility hooked on the vocals, which completely drive the track. However, I feel like there could be some more variety in the use of melody in the bass and definitely in the synths. I can see remixes of this out doing the original. Despite this, it is a good listen, it just sounds slightly rushed.
White Noise feat. AlunaGeorge
Sandro: I’m a huge fan of AlunaGeorge and Disclosure but I don’t enjoy this track at all. The melody is a little too sweet for my taste, and it just feels a little empty. Only one half of AlunaGeorge actually contributed to the track. Perhaps a touch of George Reid’s production would’ve bridged the gap between Aluna Francis’ vocals and Disclosure’s instrumental.
Kish: As I move on to White Noise (which is great – perfect vocal, catchy hook) I’m starting to get a bad feeling about this record – had Disclosure already released all their material leaving everyone’s appetite far from whet.
Ben: I honestly steered clear of over-listening this when it first came out and don’t even have my own copy of it, personally I am more plugged into the HudMo remix. However, it’s still a solid track in regards to melodic structure/originality and can really see how it appeals to pop orientated listeners. In saying all this, when ever I hear it on the radio I crank it.
Defeated No More feat. Edward Macfarlane
Sandro: At one moment in this song, Macfarlane’s falsetto soars weightlessly on an updraft, high above the monstrous synth vortex that spins gently down below. It’s a stunning moment already, but the mantra repeated amidst all this is “got to get it; got, got to get it on”. Therefore I’m claiming ‘Defeated No More’ as a certified 4am lurve jam regardless of whatever the actual intended message of the song was.
Kish: I don’t know who Ed McFarlane is and I guess he has a nice voice. I don’t want to be as negative as Amanda Byne’s press about this album but this track just doesn’t do it for me. It’s just… dare I say it, a poor man’s Latch.
Ben: I do quite enjoy this tune, it fits well within the grain of the album. I dig the syncopated synths, the warm vocals, however, I feel like it’s just a little bit bare. Perhaps some more complex melodies in the vocals could beef it up a bit more.
Sandro: ‘Stimulation’ keeps on pushing until you can’t bear the intensity but simultaneously don’t want it to stop. When the track’s bassline first slips in, you know that it’s going to keep your skull buzzing for days, especially when combined with that perfect scream-it-at-the-top-of-your-lungs vocal sample. And that’s plenty. But then the fairly standard house beat gets some flavour. Rapid-fire percussion skitters its way around the track, accompanied by tweaked vocal snippets popping up around the room like Whac-A-Moles.
Kish: It seems what I’ve been missing from Disclosure are all these really cool club tracks. This is a piece of housey goodness dripping in 90s nostalgia on par with Bicep’s releases.
Ben: This is something I would expect to hear in a club but would probably skip in my own personal listening time. It’s not bad, but again, there isn’t a whole lot holding you to this tune. In addition to this, its a little incongruent with the rest of the album.
Voices feat. Sasha Keable
Sandro: Settle as an album is disconnected for the most part – a collection of separate tracks rather than a sustained body of work. In fact the transition from ‘Stimulation’ into ‘Voices’ feels so damn perfect that it only serves to highlight the huge downfall in this area over the rest of the record. ‘Voices’ by itself is an album highlight. From sparse beginnings, it blooms into a lush imagination of its former self before snapping into an all-out foot stomper.
Kish: And it’s at this point I feel a turning point in the album and the only track that made me hit repeat. It’s the perfect balance of the new and old Disclosure which I think will keep all fans happy
Ben: This is what Disclosure is all about! Voices tessellates beautifully with the rest of their back catalogue. Its heavy with melody, brings those smooth compressed synths to the table and really takes you to a warm place. Totally digging this tune.
Sandro: The flow of the album experiences its most unappreciated stutter here. A warped r&b slow jam interrupts what could’ve been a mid-album power trio of ‘Stimulation’, ‘Voices’, and ‘Grab Her!’. It’s a very intriguing standalone track that’s quite different from a lot of Disclosure’s other work, but it’s sadly placed very awkwardly in the context of the album.
Kish: I’m not quite sure how I feel about this track. It’s an unwelcome interruption to the house vibes I was feeling a few moments ago but I’m sure it has its place somewhere at a house party, in a bedroom at the house party, where everyone is inhaling nitrous oxide and in need of a chiller track.
Ben: I am not feeling this track, it’s not really in the vein of the rest of the album, still an interesting track, but not really my cup of tea. I feel like it lacks the emotive flavour that Disclosure so often produce. This would be better as a B-side on a single release.
Sandro: This one’s similar to ‘Stimulation’ in its execution, and that’s a very good thing. It’s much more percussive and bouncy though. Think ‘Tenderly’ with a hint of tech house vibes floating around. It’ll pump just as hard in low-ceilinged clubs as it will at when the sun’s beating down at summer festivals.
Kish: As soon as this track begins, I know it can only really go two ways – I’m going to hate it or love it. Neither happens. I’m stuck in the middle of a somewhat unimpressed, disappointed shoulder bop. I really want to like it, the vocals are right up my alley but it’s the odd, slightly bizarro circus feel that throws me completely off. Maybe it’s a grower?
Ben: If you heard this out of the context of the album, you would probably not pick this to be Disclosure. To me it’s kind of like a combination of When a Fire Starts to Burn and Second Chance, It’s lacking the emotive salience and something to hook into. I am not really a fan.
You & Me feat. Eliza Doolittle
Sandro: Garage pop done right. Warms synths calm the nerves while rampant percussion snaps and fizzles away. Eliza Doolittle’s vocals hold everything together and add just enough to the table without dominating everything. The sound of anologue synths imitating fast-rising bubbles (that’s what it’s like when I paint it with my imagination brush anyway) always brings a grin to my face, and Disclosure use surprising, subtle sounds like that a lot in this one. Bonus points.
Kish: I feel a slight wave of release when You & Me begins to play. I’ve built this odd sort of reliance on the few already released tracks from this album. They all offer this warmth that is so hard not to love and getting so little of that from this album is what is the most disappointing. This is the kind of track you’d take home to mum and dad with a guarantee of a big thumbs up.
Ben: This track clicks you back into gear with tracks like Latch, Voices, January and Defeated . It is reminiscent of back in the day Disclosure, being rich in melody, using more layered synths and utilising more complex structure.
January feat. Jamie Woon
Sandro: A perfectly structured tune that’s experienced like the first bite of a rare steak. The start of the track is the fork you stick into the steak that gives you a sense of how tender it is. It all builds so gradually from there – increasing amounts of juices slowly ooze out of the meat as you cut around your fork. Just as you think all is revealed, you take that first explosive bite. That’s when that percussive bassline finally kicks in under Jamie Woon’s melodic vocals. And those vocals. They’re poppy but complex. Catchy while still intriguing. Very much the gravy drizzled on top of this meal.
Kish: This was exactly what I was waiting for and in the dying minutes, Disclosure finally deliver. Jamie’s vocals are perfectly paired with the melody and songs that speak wistfully of love appear to be Disclosure’s forte.
Ben: Smooth, deep and soulful. This track blends skilled, melodically rich vocals with that original Disclosure sound, definitely a stand out track on this album.
Confess To Me feat. Jessie Ware
Sandro: They haven’t made another ‘Running’ remix here, but they’re not trying to. I was actually shocked at how mean that main synth is. Fat and aggressive, it’s great example of Disclosure stretching the box that people put them in without breaking it.
Kish: When I saw the track list for the album, I was probably the most excited to hear this track. Jessie Ware rarely falters and her voice is like warm butter on the piece of toast Disclosure have served up.
Ben: This track has really grown on me. The detuned ringed synths and they how do and do not melodically match up with vocals keep your ears focused on what is and what isn’t happening. Although obscure, Confess is obscure in the grain of their previous work; it’s like disclosure, but it’s not.
Help Me Lose My Mind feat. London Grammar
Sandro: A stunning, emotional slice of deep house. Warmer and more sweeping than anything else on the album, and it’s got a silky vocal courtesy of London Grammar that compliments the vibe perfectly. The perfect close to a collection of tracks that unfortunately in nothing more than the sum of its parts. It’s definitely an album with depth and variety, and it will have me coming back for more. However the lack of any discernible vision for the album as a whole leaves me unlikely to ever listen to it from front to back again.
Kish: As the album winds down, I’m left with the slight twang of disappointment in my ears. It was not the album I was expecting and I think that maybe it was rushed? Despite all that, Help Me Lose My Mind is undoubtedly the perfect song to end the album with. Full of warmth unlike that of a sunset on a cold day, I put $10 on this being their next hit to be paired with a really cute video clip I’ll watch with my BF on Channel V.
Ben: As the synths roll in, the vibe tones down and a more electro-pop spin of Disclosure’s sound predominates. London Grammar’s vox kick in and you’re left in a dreamy kind of aura what was. However much like some of the other tracks on here, I feel like that this track wasn’t quite finished and that this was a draft. The idea was there and it was kind of conveyed, but it could of been better expressed. Having been a huge fan of Tenderly/Flow, Carnival ep and their other works, I listened to this album with the mentality that it would emulate the same qualities. Overall, I was slightly disappointed, it sounded rushed at some parts, with some tracks following a specific vibe whilst other went in a complete different direction that was not congruent with the album or their sound. Further more, it just didn’t sound finished. Despite this, the better tracks such as Latch, Voices, January, Confess, You and Me, Defeated and F for U make this album well worth it’s purchase.