The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

REVIEW: Disclosure – ‘ENERGY’ (Island)


In a sentence:

Despite being titled ‘ENERGY’, the Lawrence brothers’ third Disclosure album often lacks the creative spark of ingenuity, content to rest in autopilot.

British producers and brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence are back with their third Disclosure album ENERGY, and whilst it is a sizzling, anticipated record that holds some delightful dancefloor hits, it’s not as substantial as previous Disclosure releases. ENERGY has moments of brilliance, but its overall sound seems to be a bit of a snooze, content to rest in autopilot for the most part.

Music video for ‘My High’

As they found out with their slightly disappointing last outing Caracal over five years ago, it’s hard when your first record throws you into premature, incomprehensible fame. Disclosure’s excellent debut Settle housed many a hard-hitting, memorable club track that varied in style and approach, and in turn was nominated for the 2013 Mercury Prize and debuted at no.1 in the UK charts. On ENERGY we are met with a more unified house sound, yet again infused with memorable collaborations with artists such as Kelis, Kehlani, Syd and Aminé on tracks ‘Watch Your Step’, ‘My High’ and ‘Birthday’, but that can’t be said about the entirety of the release.

Music video for ‘ENERGY’

After the first three opening tracks the album screeches to a bit of a halt. Sure, ‘Who Knew?’ is enjoyable and ‘Douha (Mali Mali)’ is a legendary collaboration with Fatoumata Diawara, but tracks as this sound like all of 2010s electronic music combined, and not in the good way. The interludes ‘Fractal’ and ‘Thinking ‘Bout You’ come across as placeholders in an already short, 43 minute record, and one’s interest is only piqued again on ‘Birthday’ featuring Syd and Kehlani, as the production finally goes someplace else than ‘trendy electronic music made to soundtrack vlogs’.

Music video for ‘Douha (Mali Mali)’

Whilst Disclosure’s experimentation with samples and more left-field artists like Blick Bassy or Channel Tres are welcome, most of ENERGY lacks some the spark of ingenuity that would have raised its profile amongst mere mediocrity. Sure, the Lawrence brothers know their craft well and tracks like ‘Birthday’, ‘Lavender’ and ‘My High’ are bound to transcend the dance charts and be popular in their own right, but the rest will have to find their specific audience, place and time. ENERGY is danceable and catchy, but as a whole, it’s not an instant love affair, neither for the average consumer nor the music kids. (6/10) (Aiste Samuchovaite)

Listen to Energy by Disclosure here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!

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