I don’t get down on dance music often, but when I do it’s to something like Disclosure, who seem incapable of making sedentary music.
This past Friday Disclosure (Howard and Guy Lawrence) released Caracal, the follow up to their 2013 debut album Settle, which if I’m being honest was a bit much (or, not much) outside of the lead singles “Latch” featuring Sam Smith, and “White Noise” featuring Aluna George. The other standout from Settle “When A Fire Starts To Burn” was remixed (well, rapped over) by Vic Mensa early last year, but outside of those three I just couldn’t get too deep into Disclosure while still respecting their craft.
On Caracal, which is decidedly more pop, Disclosure settles (sorry) into a vibe I can get down with on just about every track. By integrating more accessible and familiar sounds and tempos they’ve added some diversity to their songs I didn’t know I needed. Even the bonus tracks on the deluxe version, not that bonus tracks ever make or break an album, are worth sticking around for and solidify the album’s goodness.
Overall Caracal is slower, in less of a track after track MDMA sustained hurry. In other words, things have more time to breathe and tracks are less predictable. It’s not that Caracal doesn’t have the things you expect from a dance album, but there’s often more to the tracks and that’s evident from the jump with “Nocturnal” featuring The Weekend, which sounds like a true collaboration between the two, a track that would be as at home on Beauty Behind The Madness as it is here. “Nocturnal” is followed by the two lead singles: “Omen” featuring Sam Smith and “Holding On” featuring Gregory Porter, which are more akin to what you would find on Settle and are absolutely skippable for me.
However, “Willing and Able” featuring Kwabs has hand claps and an excellent video to go along with it that piqued my interest in Caracal a few weeks before its release. It still builds like an electronic dance track but is not over the top and Kwabs is able to smooth it all out, as does Miguel on “Good Intentions”, as does Jordan Rakei on “Masterpiece”. I know nothing of Jordan Rakei, or Brendan Reilly, who is featured on the bonus track “Moving Mountains”, but I will no doubt be on the lookout for more from both of them. In fact, Jordan Rakei’s Soundcloud has a very, very nice soul mix “Groove Curse” on it right now if you’re so inclined.
Additional shouts go out to the ladies Lorde, Lion Babe, and Nao who also contribute to the well roundedness of Caracal; an album with something for everyone that somewhat serves as a platform for discovery of either dance music you might get down to, or the music of the featured artists that Disclosure allow to shine on their record. Some of the tracks mentioned above have been added to my Austin City Limits 2015 playlist as Disclosure will be at ACL Fest over the next two weekends and I’m very excited for their set. Give it a spin before the weekend so you have something to sing along to. At the very least you’ll have a reason to dance around your apartment while your roommate’s out.