Disclosure are back after a 5 year album break with ENERGY; their latest venture.
This is a radical departure for Disclosure. For their first two albums, Settle(2013) and Caracal (2015), Guy and Howard Lawrence recorded only as many tracks as they needed, but ENERGY evolved out of an epic process of creation and distillation. The path to their shortest, most direct album – 11 songs, 39 minutes – ran through around 200 tracks: everything from drum loops to fully realised songs. This time is also the first album with rap features, as the duo enlisted talents such as Mick Jenkins, ChannelTres, Aminé, slowthai and Common.
“The idea came from seeing how Sam Smith works,” says Howard. “We thought, why don’t we do that? That’s a great idea! We didn’t see the really painful part,which is having to cut songs out.” “But that’s what makes a good record,” says Guy. “How brutal can you be? How much time do you need to get your point across? All of the songs that didn’t make the album led us to the right songs.”
ENERGY is also the first time Disclosure have worked with artists who sing in other languages: Mali’s Fatoumata Diawara (Douha (Mali Mali)) and Cameroon’s Blick Bassy (Ce N’est Pa). The basic track was recorded in one take, with Guy manipulating the 808drum machine, Howard on bass and Bassy improvising. “That sums up the album for me,” says Guy. “It’s not even a real language but all the tone and flow is there.”
While it’s a satisfying feel to have a new collection of Disclosure work, ENERGY doesn’t hold up against previous Disclosure LPs. With ENERGY, no tracks really stand out and the collection of tracks are great together, just not that exciting individually.
The album does feel more experimental, which is a good thing for Disclosure yet the end user may not react to the productions as well as previous. The above may sound negative, but really – it’s Disclosure, anything they touch will be quality. In the case of ENERGY, it’s not their best, which is totally fine. As with other Disclosure albums, it will surely grow on people.
Today, fans can explore Disclosure’s ‘ENERGY Minecraft Experience,’ an immersive meta-verse within Minecraft inspired by the vibrant world of their new record.