Disclosure’s debut album Settle is now up for legal streaming and not-so-legal download, much to the excitement of (some) electronic music fans worldwide. It contains a lot of guest artists including London Grammar, Eliza Doolittle and Sam Smith, and seems to be quite heavily vocal. It includes a few previously released singles (Latch, White Noise, You & Me) but plenty of new material for all you Disclosure fans.
I’ve listened to the album fully a couple of times now, along with individual plays of previously released material. We’ve got some great tracks on here which I’ve found myself repeating a couple of times: Latch featuring Sam Smith is a massive track which I could not get enough of when I first heard it a few months ago, White Noise featuring AlunaGeorge is, in some ways, quite similar to Latch, but still features that driving synth lead that makes Disclosure so popular. However, it’s worth noting I may be a little biased to these 2 tracks as I am a big fan of both of the guest artists (check out La La La by Naughty Boy if you like Sam Smith).
However, with all this comes a little disappointment. Even though we’ve got great artists featured with some really funky songs, the album just seems a little… dull. I guess I was expecting more, but all I got was a largely 90’s house populated release with a few future garage songs mixed in every so often (although those were in fact recycled). On a full listen the album seems to blend into one retro-sounding house track which lacks any soul or direction, and just ends up sounding generic.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think technically and objectively this album is largely fantastic: F for You has a really nice sweeping pad that adds a lot dynamic, When a Fire Starts to Burn has really great Mr. Fingers feel and Confess to Me seems to break the barrier with a really frantically energised future sound. But, with all this, and with all things considered, I can’t say I’m a fan of the album. The whole thing sounds very processed and depressingly standard.
This may disappoint some fans out there (especially the ones who were expecting future garage, seriously I count 3 songs that don’t follow a 4/4 pattern), but, on the lighter side of things, may introduce some new listeners to house music. Whilst it is quite poppy and a little “mainstream”, it does echo a very future-retro sound, an almost contradictory phrase. Almost.