The amount of expectations on Disclosure to produce a stunning second album has been intense. But have they delivered? That is debatable… Disclosure have produced Caracal, an album exuding cool basslines and catchy lyrical performances – nothing less could be expected from the brothers. The majority of the album has such an incrediable flow, allowing for a smooth listening experience. The reason for this is the incredible artists whom Disclosure have managed to rope in for this album. From The Weeknd to Lorde and Kwabs, the level of artistic fusion is insane. However, there is a big BUT here, I kind of expected a little more. Each track does perform, but few outperform the high levels of expectations. Disclosure have not taken any big risks that would push this album to greatness.
The Disclosure boys were able to bring in some big hitters in the music industry at the moment, and a part of me feels, listening to those tracks when utilising those artists, that Disclosure may have got a little lost in the other artists’ sound. Starting with Magnets featuring Lorde, I could not help but feel that it sounded like a Lorde track rather than a Disclosure track. The backing track was rather repetitive and seemingly more mainstream pop than the usual house vibes. Whilst you could also make the point that the pop charts are becoming more diverse, I just have to admit Magnets bored me – there, I said it. Moving to Omen featuring Sam Smith, all I have to say is that it was nothing particularly special. However, we can contrast this with the first track, Nocturnal featuring The Weeknd, which acted as a slick opening track.
The strengths of this album occur within the middle section where Disclosure settle down into their groove (pardon that pun). Starting with Jaded, one of the closest tracks to their original sound on Caracal, taking their house influences and pushing some real power into the backing track. Lyrics like “Why, oh why do you have to lie? / What are you afraid of? / We know what you’re made of” have such a punch even when spoken so calmly. On the entire album, Jaded retains the power that drew a lot of audiences into Disclosure during Settle. A track with similar vibes is Good Intentions, where the blasting electronic opening leads into a very chill house backing, reminiscent of their more experimental days.
Throughout the whole of the album Disclosure have aspired to a level of seduction and sultriness. Superego is the best example on the album where the boys got it right. Superego has an over-exuberant tone of power, control, and seduction. These things interplay together to produce a track where Nao literally screams her dominance over the audience. I just love the whole production of Superego. Tracks like Willing And Able featuring Kwabs try to produce that same vibes, but personally not to the same high standard of Superego. The repetition of “If we are falling in love,” which dominates the chorus, drags a little too much for my tastes, and I find overall is a pretty average track if we are judging by Disclosure standards.
Disclosure have produced a good album, don’t get me wrong – but if this was Disclosure’s first album, this review would be a lot more positive, maybe discussing how the Lawrence brothers have a platform for success etc. However, after the ground-breaking Settle Disclosure fired onto the scene three years ago, Caracal feels like its subdued counterpart. It is just not enough!