Album Review: Disclosure - Caracal
By Jonathan Fuchs, Contributor
Key Tracks: “Nocturnal,” “Holding On,” “Hourglass”
In just two years, UK dance duo Disclosure has shaped the faces of the pop and EDM genres by headlining music festivals worldwide, inspiring other DJs and producers like Rudimental with heavy UK garage sound, and being partly responsible for the extremely successful career of Sam Smith. The most shocking part is that all of this was done in one album, Disclosure’s 2013 debut Settle. Many consider Settle to be one of the best dance albums of the decade so far since it had the catchiest dance tracks of 2013, and helped the careers of the more unknown artists featured.
But with just one look at Caracal’s tracklist, which contains The Weeknd, Lorde and the return of Sam Smith, one can tell this album is going for more of a pop sound, falling in the footsteps of Avicii and Calvin Harris. But unlike Avicii and Harris, who end up sounding rather bland, Caracal holds up pretty well. Although it is an underwhelming follow-up to Disclosure’s debut, it has plenty of great dance songs and stays interesting through its beats, which keep in the UK bass sound featured in 2013 tracks.
The first half of this album is amazing, and can be considered as good as the previous album. The strong vocals brought on by The Weeknd, Sam Smith, Lorde and more are refreshing to listen to, and the production is the best on any dance album this year. All of the beats on the first half sound great, and grab you tight with its kicks and 808 bass.
After the song “Jaded,” the album dies down with two tracks that feel like fillers: “Good Intentions,” which contains a very mediocre performance from Miguel, and “Superego,” which contains awful high pitched vocals from Nao and a very boring beat. The album gets a little better, but fails to keep the listener as interested.
Although it has a few spoiled tracks, Caracal is a fun and surprisingly strong album. Though it isn’t the follow-up to Settle everyone was hoping for, it makes a very good stand-alone album and is one of the better dance albums to come out this year.