Disclosure are the type of band who, whilst Drake has been having 'beef' and Kanye West has been having children, have quietly been working away, and now have two albums, and a world tour under their belt. These two brothers from Surrey, who released their debut album, Settle, to enormous critical acclaim in 2013, are back in 2015 with Caracal, and busy selling out 3 nights at Alexandra Palace in London.
Perhaps known more nowadays for their famous collaborations - Caracal has vocals from Sam Smith, Lorde, Gregory Porter, Kwabs and The Weeknd, Disclosure have been part of the movement that took dance music from the drugged out underground into the Top 40. Their concert doesn't disappoint: from a simple stage, which consists of perpendicular decks and the artists themselves, they fill the cavernous space of Ally Pally with music and light.
Disclosure makes so-called 'dance tracks' that refuse to listen to categorisation: they borrow heavily from R&B, pop and disco tropes, whilst ignoring the traditional 'build and drop' that EDM abounds with. Their concerts, for such a young band, display a surprising depth: over 2 hours there were more songs the crowd recognised than not. Equally, the Lawrence brothers have put thought and consideration into the curation of their concerts - hoping to avoid, perhaps, the expected clamour for their big-name hits.
'I like that they are dressed the same,' my friend yelled at me, as we flung our hands in the air and shouted lyrics at the stage.'Do you think that's to remind people that they are brothers?' Sartorial choices aside, the fact that Howard and Guy are brothers seems to be the key to their success: they grin delightedly at one another throughout the gig, and several times thank the crowds for their enthusiasm. We are constantly reminded that not that long ago, they were just two exceptionally talented young men, creating music together in their parent's house.
Critically, their second album, 'Caracal', has been less-well received than their breakout offering, 'Settle'. There have been accusations of 'watering down' and 'a lack of energy'. Critics are disappointed with what they feel is the 'safeness' of the album- an unwanted move away from the risks and surprises of the first. At first listening, I tended to agree. Nowadays, the sound they are making can be heard everywhere- both in the Top 40 and out of it, and big-name collaborations are par for the course.
But during the concert, I changed my mind. It is not Disclosure's fault that others are doing what they are- or that multi-platinum selling artists are lining up to be on their album. From Lorde's fantastic lyrics on 'Magnets' ('Pretty girls don't know the things that I know' stands out particularly) to The Weeknd's 'Nocturnal, which in my opinion stands alongside 'I can't feel my face' (and is likely to see the same overwhelming radio play), the tracks played from Caracal show less of a 'watering down' and more of an embedding: after critical and commercial success, these absurdly nice young men are happily plowing their own groove- and any groove that comes with comparisons to Basement Jaxx and The Chemical Brothers is all right by me.