hmv's Albums Of The Year...#3 Disclosure's Settle
Over the last month, we've asked all our staff members to vote for their favourite albums of 2013 and they've responded in droves. Over 500 albums received votes, but, after every vote has been counted, we have our final tally. Today we reveal who's taken the #3 slot: it's Disclosure, with their brilliant debut, Settle.
By 2010, Myspace was already receding in the public’s consciousness, giving way to the more popular social media channels of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. At its peak of popularity, there were various musical success stories such as Lily Allen & Arctic Monkeys, but it had become saturated and it looked as though its days as a platform for launching the careers of aspiring new artists might be numbered. But it still had something to offer for two young brothers from Surrey.
2010 was the year Guy and Howard Lawrence first uploaded tracks including ‘Offline Dexterity’ to the online platform, it’s soulful, garage-influenced sound soon being picked up by online blogs, who nicknamed their sound ‘Lovestep’. By 2012, their song ‘Latch’ was becoming a massive club hit and sneaking its way onto mainstream radio, followed up early this year by the staggeringly brilliant ‘White Noise’, featuring another promising, up-and-coming act in AlunaGeorge. Finally in June their debut, Settle, hit the shelves, crashing straight into the album chart at No.1.
That’s an achievement for any debut, but Disclosure have not enjoyed the promotional benefits of, say, an X Factor contestant, instead taking the time to allow their reputation to build in the clubs and spread via word of mouth, then radio, before releasing their album. This is clearly an approach that has served them well, because the most striking thing about Settle is how accomplished the record is for a debut effort, especially when you take into account that Guy and Howard had just turned 22 and 19 respectively.
The hit rate on this album is phenomenally high and the collaborators have been extremely well chosen. In addition to the already mentioned AlunaGeorge there are appearances from Sam Smith, Eliza Doolittle, Jamie Woon, Jessie Ware, Edward MacFarlane, Sasha Keeble and Sinead Harnett, but the real gem on the record is ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’, featuring the brilliant London Grammar.
Right from the beginning as the track ‘Intro’ segues into 'When A Fire Starts To Burn’, there’s an immediate freshness to Disclosure’s sound: influenced as it is by the UK Garage scene of the early 90s, there’s a lot more going on here, with nods to acid house, dubstep and the deep house of the Chicago scene spearheaded by the likes of Frankie Knuckles.
But it’s also accessible, infectious and irreverent; the brothers seem completely unburdened by any kind of outside expectation and the result is a record that sounds like it was as much fun to make as it is to listen to.
Other highlights on the record include the Eliza Doolittle collaboration ‘You & Me’, the acid-house flavoured ‘Grab Her!’ and deep house banger ‘Stimulation’, but really the entire album is packed with great tunes and our advice would simply be this: just buy it. Because if you let 2013 pass you by without adding this to your record collection, you really will be missing something special.
Best Track: 'White Noise'