Disclosure - Settle (2xLP)
For a while it seemed like the chain-of-command in Britain’s dance establishment was forever set in stone. The Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxx and Fatboy Slim would headline festivals from now until the end of days. The only way a new UK dance act could reach millions of people was to get a song on Masterchef.
But in less than a year, Disclosure have turned all that on its head. The most successful British dance act in a generation, they’ve not only soared to the top of the charts and sold out venues across the world – they’ve also changed the nature of British pop, opening the door for underground dance acts to flood the mainstream. All this from a couple of brothers that only just finished school. The eldest, Guy, is 21. The youngest, Howard, is just 18.
Despite this early success, they’ve never compromised on their sound. At a time when chart dance music was dominated by millionaire producers making factory-line EDM for bottle service nightclubs, they showed that innovative British artists still has a place in the mainstream. “We’d never dumb down our sound, we've always made music with the same intention from the first track we ever put on Myspace,” says Howard. “So if people are connected to that, it's good news for us." Without ever meaning to, they’ve become the exemplar of how underground music can find success without concessions to the supposed rules of pop.
More impressive still, is how quickly they've accomplished so much. This time last year, they’d just put out their third single "Tenderly / Flow": a patchwork of synth thrusts and torrid vocal loops. Like any decent dance record it got plenty of club spins and some night-time radio play, but it didn’t seem like they’d be heading to the top of the charts. The Face EP followed on Greco-Roman in June and featured both "Boiling" and "Control" which succeeded in spreading the word about this young duo even further.
At a similar time, they remixed Jessie Ware’s "Running" which went on to soundtrack the whole summer. Then in October they released "Latch," a soul-garage smoothie vocaled by Sam Smith which reached #11 and sold over 200,000 copies in the UK alone. That was followed at the start of 2013 by "White Noise," the collaboration with Aluna George which, through word-of-mouth and sheer bloody brilliance, reached #2. New single "You & Me," featuring Eliza Doolittle, sees Disclosure bringing the deep, 2-step underbelly of UK Garage to the charts for the first time. It racked up half a million plays on soundcloud and a quarter of a million views of the video in just over a week and entered to UK Top 10 as the highest new entry on release.
Now they’re gearing up for the release of Settle, their debut record. It’s got a stellar cast – as well as the aforementioned singles there’s brand new vocals from Mercury and Brit nominated diva Jessie Ware, Friendly Fires lead singer and outlandish dancer Ed McFarlane and silky top-line heartbreaker Jamie Woon. But more than a collection of spectacular songs, it’s also a chance for Disclosure to demonstrate their depth.
“We could have just kept releasing 12" singles for years, but there's a glass ceiling to that,” says Howard. “You get stuck in clubs, we always wanted to do something where people can get to know us and our sound.” So they set about making a record that was distinctly Disclosure and ended up with a classic. Settle is a clever, expansive electronic record that's sure to be added to the pantheon of seminal dance albums like Dig Your Own Hole and Discovery.