Proving that dance could thrive in the mainstream, Disclosure’s intuitive way with a song made them unlikely stars of 2012, two young brothers with a red button marked ‘banger’ glowing bright on their crossfader. Hits were the language in which they dealt, and their debut ‘Settle’ had plenty, each song going on to gain a life much larger than itself. Their ascent had been swift, and at the top of that mountain came ‘Caracal’, a moment to display their new-found maturity. The follow-up had its own fair share of star-studded moments (Lorde, Sam Smith, The Weeknd), but there was something about it that felt overly considered, a party winding down into drinks and nibbles as opposed to an out-and-out rave.
Both still in their 20s, you can’t blame Disclosure for wanting to grow up, but ‘Energy’ thankfully does so in a way that pulls bodies firmly back to the dance floor. Utilising a considered selection of guest vocalists, it takes a keener focus on rap and afrobeats, making good on the breadcrumb trail of singles that have tided fans over in the five-year album interim. Common takes ‘Reverie’ straight back to ‘90s Chicago, while Cameroonian musician Blik Blassy shines on ‘Ce N’est Pas’, a silken-shoulder groove that manages to nail the free-flowing, meditative sound they couldn’t quite nail with ‘Caracal’. At the other end of the spectrum, the equally potty-mouthed Aminé and slowthai deliver the goods on ‘My High’, a grubby number that demands to be bumped loud out of car windows. If this music thing doesn’t work out, Disclosure could make a pretty penny establishing duos - Kehlani and Syd gel instantly on ‘Birthday’, a song rich in sonics and instagram-captioning imagery.
Perhaps Disclosure’s return to form comes from the strength of their most audibly recognisable collaborator. Introduced to us on ‘When A Fire Starts To Burn’, legendary hip hop preacher Eric Thomas is back for the album’s title track, a rousing, vuvuzela-toting stomp that will have you beating down the door of whatever local gym reopens first from lockdown, demanding to get on that treadmill and sweat with the fury of a thousand suns. It’s what they do best, and it’s what we want more of - motivational, sky-reaching anthems that don’t overthink the euphoria at hand. It might be time to reinstate that red button…
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