Out of intention or otherwise, ‘Settle’ opens with an aptly titled song: ‘When A Fire Starts To Burn’.
That’s how it felt when Disclosure’s stock began to rise in 2012, when European festival dates to crowds in the thousands became commonplace. It wasn’t just brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence’s name that spread like wildfire, it was this big, fat house revival that came to light too. The fire’s still burning, in fact, ‘Settle’ being the temperature peak.
Because ‘Settle’ is more than just the disc it’s contained within. It’s a movement, the emergence of a revival scene that’s disgusted stalwart house lovers as much as it’s swept the club movement up into its palms. For all its star-studded cast, it’s just the laying of the foundations for something bigger.
Does the fire burn or is it just a flash in the pan? ‘Settle’ isn’t by any means magnificent, but it’s good enough to be associated as the defining album of the current revival. The emphasis is on documentation, drafting in Jessie Ware post-‘Running’ remix, and closing the album with the sound of the future: London Grammar. It’s a debut that tells a narrative, of everything that Disclosure have achieved up to now, and everything they’re capable of amounting to in years to come.
Brothers Lawrence lend their own vocals to ‘F For You’, which beyond standouts ‘Latch’ and ‘White Noise’ - which were never going to be topped, let’s be honest - is the sweatiest, sexiest cut on the album by a long stretch. Sasha Keable announces herself as a future star in ‘Voices’, but the maddening ‘Grab Her’ and a Jamie Woon-featuring ‘January’ both lack the sheen and immediacy of ‘Settle’s bulk, and they’re lumped in towards the end of the record.
‘Latch”s offbeat pulse isn’t replicated across the board. In fact the rhythm is rarely raised during ‘Settle’, with a good third of the tracks opting for a 4/4 beat and customary drops which, as the album progresses, become less and less startling. Nothing gets close to ‘White Noise’ in terms of sheer frenzied hysteria, but tracks like ‘You & Me’ go borderline formulaic. It’s down to London Grammar to offer something out of the ordinary, closer ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’ providing an emotive comedown to an otherwise endless party atmosphere.
None of the gripes really matter when you consider ‘Settle”s endpoint, in festival tents and dance floors the world over. The reach of this record is remarkable, almost infinite. Guy and Howard make few slip-ups, ensuring the fire burns, and will continue to do so until this house revival is less a sudden resurrection, more a fad of the past. The fire will simmer out, and one day this record will sound ridiculously dated, but for the time being it is everything 2013 requires.
Records & Merch
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