After months of hype and an almost never-ending slew of singles, Disclosure has released Caracal, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed debut album Settle. You’ve already heard more than half of the deluxe LP, thanks to our previous coverage of the first eight singles, but don’t worry, that means there’s still seven scintillatingly soulful new tunes from the brotherly duo for you to sink your teeth into.
The brothers claimed that the album was to offer little in the way of “club” music, and outside of the already released tracks Hourglass and Bang That, they were right. Gone are the two-step groovers that made Settle such a hit record, and in their place are a series of subdued-yet-thoughtful sounds. Caracal is a sleek, soulful, and sophisticated trek that oft-times will have you forgetting that the Lawrence brothers are only 24 and 21. This is a serious-sounding LP from a pair of producers who seem to have become aged veterans overnight.
The action opens not with a bang, but with the slow-burning sounds of Nocturnal, featuring the always-slick vocals of artist-of-the-moment The Weeknd. Good Intentions shines with the sensual energy of Miguel, while up-and-coming UK R&B artist NAO provides a nice flourish of excitement in Superego. Masterpiece is a shiny, sultry soiree using previously unheralded vocalist Jordan Rakei that soars with the kind of effortless ease that made the boys’ debut such a treat. Echoes, which is free of guest features, is one of the strongest songs on the album, leading me to feel that the excess of external influences may have been detrimental. Likewise, Molecules and closing track Afterthought are fresh and funky audial dalliances that use group member Howard Lawrence’s highly underrated vocals to steal your heart.
All in all, the album is sleek yet safe, offering an enjoyable experience but little in the way of surprises.Caracal is undoubtedly a finely crafted album, but something is missing–it lacks the energy and sense of purpose that made 2013’s Settle such an unforgettable release. If Settle is the party-starter, Caracal is the album you throw on late at night when everyone is going home.
Click here to pick up the deluxe version of Caracal. The eight singles unveiled before the album’s release include: Bang That, Holding On, Omen, Moving Mountains, Jaded, Willing & Able, Hourglass, and Magnets.