Disclosure – ‘Caracal’

Redhill rave brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence get soulful and serious on luxurious second album

The Footlocker funk of Disclosure’s 2013 debut ‘Settle’ saw them shoot to Number One, go platinum and scoop up a host of Grammy, Mercury and Brit Award nominations. The album sounded like the future of house, birthing six singles (‘White Noise’ was the peak, reaching Number Two) and reinvigorating dancefloors by plundering 1990s UK garage and melding it with joyous pop.

For the follow-up, Disclosure have decided to take things more seriously. On the glossily-produced ‘Caracal’ there seems, at first, to be something curiously out of cultural kilter with Guy and Howard Lawrence. Despite only being 24 and 21, the Surrey-bred siblings now seem old before their time, like the Benjamin Buttons of chart-house. Bringing in soulful vocalists like 43-year-old jazzman Gregory Porter on the skittering Balearic flashback ‘Holding On’ and BBC Sound Of 2015 longlister Kwabs on the ever-so-slightly plodding ‘Willing & Able’ make them seem like the sensible face of hedonism; a trip to Ibiza with your uncle Nigel, an old maths teacher offering you a crappy pill, Mary Berry winking as she slips you a copy of the latest ‘Ministry Of Sound’ compilation.

But what Disclosure do, they do incredibly well, notably the promotion of up-and-coming talent. Though a trio of superstars – Lorde, The Weeknd and Miguel – sprinkle significant stardust, the moments that impress most come on tracks that feature lesser-known artists, proving that when Disclosure lean more towards the underground, they’re that much more compelling. London singer Nao lends a lightness of touch to the fresh ‘Superego’, while the kind of effortlessness that oozed from the duo’s debut flashes on ‘Masterpiece’, a glimmer-glitch D’Angelo-style slowjam featuring the previously unknown Jordan Rakei, who Guy’s friend uncovered while travelling in Australia. Jillian Hervey, singer with NY soul duo Lion Babe, ushers in squelchy authenticity on ‘Hourglass’.

There’s a conspicuous lack of the two-step flourishes that made ‘Settle’ such a rush here. In their place is a more thoughtful and considered approach, with Lorde bringing the smooth vocal style of her own single ‘Tennis Court’ to ‘Magnets’, or Sam Smith’s nasal “Oh oh oh”s over the wubs and bass of ‘Omen’.

‘Caracal’ is about Disclosure maturing, moving on and showing the listener how to rave respectably. This is dance music for grown-ups.