Disclosure – Caracal

Written for the Press Association music column, published on the Plymouth Herald and other sites.

Two years on from the release of multi-million selling, chart-topping, Grammy-nominated album Settle, Disclosure have finally produced a second album. Guy and Howard Lawrence’s first offering boasted four Top 20 singles, launched Sam Smith’s fruitful career and somehow created a sound that could appease warehouse ravers, Radio 1 listeners and music-savvy mums all at once. Could their sophomore offering, Caracal, possibly live up to their triumphant debut? This time the Surrey siblings have switched things up, throwing out their beloved fast tempo beats and sample-led vocals for a more chilled out tone. On some tracks, the new sound is beautifully executed. Nao’s incredible silky smooth vocals make Superego a treat for the ears, while Holding On, a house-y collaboration with Gregory Porter, will undoubtedly fill dance floors everywhere with shuffling feet. Disclosure’s second collaboration with Sam Smith, lead single Omen, doesn’t quite match the unexpected wonder of Latch, but is nonetheless an excellent pop song with an infectiously groovy hook. However, there are songs on which the new, mellowed out Disclosure sound falls a little flat. Even appearances from A-list names like The Weeknd on Nocturnal and Lorde on Magnets fail to match the dizzying heights of Settle. Caracal certainly has its moments, but the distinct lack of throbbing bass, dazzling dance beats and crescendoing synth we fell in love with on its predecessor, fail to rouse anything more than a toe tap.