Armed with some of the UK's finest vocalists, the Lawrence brothers' debut is a delectable dance record that craftily draws inspiration from '90s house and garage and rechannels them through a radio-ready pop format
In the cut-throat climate of the dance music-related genre, newcomers don't have a great chance to break through with their debut albums. On one hand, we have European DJs/producers who have been monopolising much of the music charts over the past couple of years (David Guetta, Avicii, Swedish House Mafia, to mention a few); then there are veterans such as Armin van Buuren, Diplo and Daft Punk. However, in the case of Guy and Howard Lawrence, aged 22 and 19 respectively, the British brother duo who go by the name of Disclosure, the breakthrough seems to have come relatively easy and quickly.
First getting their feet wet in the scene back in 2010, the twosome spent the subsequent years honing their skills by remixing for acts including Everything Everything and Crystal Fighters, as well as releasing two EPs of their own. Earlier this year, the boys gained wider recognition from their remix of rising pop darling Jessie Ware's Running and their excellent debut single Latch (featuring Sam Smith), which shot to No11 in the UK singles chart.
Their follow-up singles White Noise and You & Me fared even better, thanks to two wonderful soulful vocalists _ Aluna George's singer Aluna Francis and Eliza Doolittle. These three singles are all included on the duo's first full-length album, Settle, with the addition of 11 other noteworthy tracks that deliver an equal amount of reverence to classic dance club sub-genres, if not more.
When a Fire Starts to Burn, for instance, is a straight-up club jam featuring renowned motivational speaker Eric Thomas, who fervently drops a hook akin to an intense sermon one might find at a revival in the US deep south. Elsewhere, the siblings' dabblings in dance run the gamut from languorous house tunes (Defeated No More featuring Friendly Fires' Ed MacFarlane, January featuring Jamie Woon, and Help Me Lose My Mind featuring London Grammar's Hannah Reid) to glitchy, bass-driven offerings (Second Chance, Grab Her!) _ all executed with pop sing-along sensibilities that set Settle apart from the rest of the dance records out there.
With a knack for reappropriating the somewhat dated genres of UK garage and 2-step and putting them in a modern-pop context with the help of very current guest vocalists, Disclosure succeed in making an album that appeals to both ends of the spectrum. Given their ages, Guy and Howard are surprisingly able to take cues from UK garage originators such as Artful Dodger, Burial and MJ Cole and add their own youthful stamp. As a result, Settle proves to be a coherent and fulfilling listening experience fitting for both on the dancefloor and off.
Summer Dress/ Ratree
Local indie-pop quintet Summer Dress say that their music is influenced by Euro disco and synth-pop, but upon hearing their singles such as Thur Khang Thang, Sia Kon and their latest, Ratree, we beg to differ slightly. Why? Because those spiky guitar riffs and catchy choruses _ especially on Ratree _ could easily be mistaken for Foals and Two Door Cinema Club's early material. However, that's not to fault the band's talent in any way. The track stands on its own as a veritable indie-pop earworm that will get anyone's feet tapping in no time.
Icona Pop/ Girlfriend
A pair of Swedish DJs _ Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, collectively known as Icona Pop _ make the kind of edgy music that fuses electro with elements of punk and indie rock. Their breakthrough single, I Love It, has been featured on several hit TV shows such as Girls, The Vampire Diaries and Glee. The duo's latest offering, Girlfriend, has a similar feel-good vibe as the hit single, and also reminds us of the best pop tunes from Katy Perry. And if the hook: "All I need in this life of sin is me and my girlfriend/Down to ride till the happy end, is me and my girlfriend," sounds all too familiar to some of you, it's because it samples Tupac Shakur's Me and My Girlfriend.
It's been a while since we've heard any new material from Beck, and, thankfully, that's about to change. The American singer-songwriter has just revealed a new song called Defriended. Flecked with electronic flourishes, the track makes snare drum and synths its priority and all the while puts Beck's distorted, almost intelligible vocals in the background. Frankly, this is not a huge surprise from the ever-experimenting musician. Defriended is said to be a one-off release and won't be included on any of his upcoming albums. Having said that, Beck does plan to follow up 2008's Modern Guilt with two new albums later this year.
Hot Chip/ Dark and Stormy
We don't know why one-off singles have suddenly become the vogue, but if that means we get to hear new stuff from the bands and artists we love, we're certainly not complaining. The latest act to indulge in this new craze is UK electro-pop outfit Hot Chip who casually drop a track called Dark and Stormy to their fans' delight. Due out in July, the single will also feature remixes of How Do You Do, Flutes and Look At Where We Are, by Todd Terje, Sasha and Major Lazer, respectively.
2 Chainz (featuring Wiz Khalifa)/ We Own It
Rappers 2 Chainz and Wiz Khalifa team up to give the final instalment of Hollywood blockbuster Fast & Furious a mid-tempo jam titled We Own It. Featuring hip hop and electronic artists such as the Crystal Method, Cypress Hill, Usher, deadmau5, David Guetta and Peaches, the soundtrack is fittingly geared towards racing adrenalin junkies. 2 Chainz start off talking about how "money's the motivation, money's the conversation", and Wiz later chimes in saying he "never feared death or dying only fear never trying". Together the pair sing: "One shot, everything rides on tonight/Even if I've got three strikes I'm a go for it/This moment, we own it."
About the author
Writer: Chanun Poomsawai