- 28 Aug 20
Lawrence brothers return with star-studded third album.
While never ones to shy away from a big-name guest slot – their previous album featured appearances from Sam Smith, The Weeknd, Lorde, and Miguel, among others – Disclosure's long-awaited third album, ENERGY, is arguably one of their most ambitious yet, with appearances from Kelis, Kehlani, Syd, Common, Aminé, Slowthai, Mick Jenkins and more.
Of course, the timing is bittersweet: from opener ‘Watch Your Step’, dance and movement are the beating heart of ENERGY – activities that are now not only a distant memory to most, but considered dangerous by public health professionals (a sentence you certainly couldn’t imagine reading in 2019). But by revelling in this sense of unapologetic enthusiasm and positivity, Disclosure have crafted a project that's not entirely tone deaf to the current situation, but rather a necessary reminder that the dance floors will, one day, reopen.
Among the highlights is ‘My High’, which thrillingly pairs Portland rapper Aminé with Slowthai – coming together on a track that’s dazzlingly outside of their own respective trademark styles. That being said, it’s a sound we’ve already heard – with elements of Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx paired with the hip-house energy of Azealia Banks’ ‘212’.
In this regard, ENERGY can occasionally feel like a throwback record, and Disclosure wear their influences on their sleeve – paying homage to J Dilla on the 'Fractal (Interlude)', and UK garage on the Mick Jenkins-assisted 'Who Knew?'.
Ultimately however, the project, which finds Disclosure leaning more confidently into the pop sound they had previously skirted around the edges of, fails to push at the boundaries of dance music as convincingly as its predecessors Settle and Caracal. But from the Brazilian-inspired title track to the '70s samples on 'Thinking 'Bout You', it's clear the duo haven't completely lost sight of the dazzling unpredictability that marked them as one of the UK's most thrilling acts.