In their highly anticipated follow-up to 2013’s Settle, the British brothers largely stick to the same formula that made them famous, although they don’t execute it quite as well. 90s house-influenced dance songs with pop song structures. A host of cool and up-and-coming featured artists. And what’s a Disclosure album without Sam Smith singing about love he can’t find?
The brothers released six singles before the actual album’s release. Unfortunately, those six are by far the album’s best, and the rest of the songs don’t really stack up. Smith’s single, “Omen,” is again a standout. While it’s not as good as the epic “Latch” from Settle, it seems like you can’t really go wrong by pairing Smith with the brothers, who know how to take advantage of his spectacular vocal range.
Oddly, they fail to do the same with Miguel, whose excellent voice is hardly used on “Good Intentions.”
The best contribution to the album comes from Lorde, the only artist who worked with the brothers in the studio. While that’s translated into little in terms of style, with some extra percussion that the young pop artist might have thrown in, she owns the song in a way that other artists, maybe with the exception of Smith, fail to. While the song’s beat is solidly a Disclosure make, its swagger is unmistakably Lorde.
A few songs have the old driven dance music that the duo was originally known for; “Holding On” and “Hourglass” are both solid club bangers.
The album’s songs are generally not as loud and lack the punch of earlier tracks the duo have released. It remains pop-oriented and some of it is quite catchy; “Molecules,” has a hook that gets stuck in your head. But the grand scope and constant buzz of Settle is missing from this one.