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Review: Disclosure ‘Caracal’

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Sam Smith and Disclosure perform at Day 1 of the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Friday, September, 18, 2015 in Las Vegas, NV.  Powers Imagery/Invision/Press Association Images

Sam Smith and Disclosure perform at Day 1 of the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Friday, September, 18, 2015 in Las Vegas, NV. Powers Imagery/Invision/Press Association Images

 

Following the worldwide success of their debut album Settle in 2013 and a global tour, the expectations were high for Disclosure to create another brilliant and ground breaking album.

Just over two years later, they’ve stepped back onto the scene with what can only be described as one of the best dance albums of 2015. Featuring vocals from Sam Smith, Gregory Porter, Lorde, The Weeknd and others, Disclosure’s sophomore album Caracal is big, bold and plays to the vocalists’ strength.

Guy and Howard Lawrence have taken themselves in a different direction; they’re less about creating major dance hits and club anthems and more about the brilliant songwriters they’ve featured, including newcomers LION BABE and Nao.

They’ve switched up their style and produced a far more experimental record than that of its predecessor, with less of a focus on a deep house sound and more on a laid-back sound that is very ‘of the moment.’

For pop fans Settle was something rare: dance music that was easily digestible, imaginative and cutting-edge. Most of the tracks tempos are slower on Caracal but that does not mean the album is any less eye-catching. There’s passion in every voice and quality ideas in every track – from the chilled out brilliance of “Willing & Able” to the undeniably catchy and memorable “Magnets” featuring Lorde. “Bang That” (available on the iTunes deluxe edition) is beautifully rare, The Weeknd’s vocals are distinctive and he possesses a special charisma in the introduction track “Nocturnal”, and things definitely get lively in “Jaded” which features the multitalented Howard Lawrence. Two personal favourites are “Holding On” with jazz vocalist Gregory Porter and “Hourglass”, both of which feel like evolved forms of the best sounds from Settle.
The Sam Smith reunion “Omen” has a comfortable tempo, undoubtedly shot to the top of the charts and once again shows how powerful a collaboration him and Disclosure are. However it never gathers the tension that made “Latch” so addictive and original.

Having said that, Disclosure have been clear about what this album means for their evolution. Settle was the band’s great surprise and is an unrepeatable deep house masterpiece, whereas Caracal is more sophisticated, clean and branches away from the sounds that were featured in tracks such as “Latch”. It compliments Settle; it does not try to be Settle 2.0, so we’re not going to get the killer basslines of “Voices” or “Stimulation”. We should focus more on the new direction they’ve taken rather than comparing the two albums.
Another thing Disclosure have brought to the table with Caracal is the music videos for the official singles. Three singles were released prior to the album: “Holding On”, “Omen” and “Jaded”, and all are interconnected. They follow a storyline, each newly released video furthering the plot, where we see a young women in a sci-fi, dystopian world who is, for some unknown reason, being chased by the police. Each music video ties in together to bring a chapter to a story for this album which is what distinguishes them between a ‘usual’ music video and a creative music video. Take notes other artists, Disclosure know how to make music videos for their albums.
Ultimately every single has an amazing sound and the entire album itself is the perfect choice for both party and relaxation. It will make for a phenomenal experience when they tour the UK in the next couple of months.

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