Disclosure introduces African-inspired EDM music to western audiences on its new album “Energy.”
The British duo consists of brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence who had found fame in 2012 with their lead single “Latch.” The group came out with its sophomore album “Caracal” in 2015 and collaborated with acclaimed artists such as Lorde, The Weeknd and Miguel. It wasn’t until five years later that the duo released their third studio album “Energy.”
The album contains 11 songs in the standard version while the deluxe version adds nine more to the list. The most notable parts of the album were the fusion of African-style music with signature EDM beats as well as collaborations with international artists.
The first three songs in the album features artists from the U.S. and the U.K. “Watch Your Step” features Kelis. Kelis’s vocals help accentuate the early 2000’s dance music feel while preparing listeners on what to expect with the new album.
“Lavender” features Compton-based EDM artist Channel Tres and has a sensual vibe while keeping the fast-paced genre. Similarly, Slowthai and Portland-born rapper Aminé grab attention in “My High” with a fast-paced tempo and offer a crumb of British house music and hip-hop to new audiences.
It isn’t until the fifth track that the African-style elements are introduced. “Douha (Mali Mali),” which features Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara, is based on Diawara’s hometown. It features lyrics in Diawara’s native language and has a fun, funky vibe. Cameroonian singer-songwriter Blick Bassy’s raspy vocals work nicely with the electro beats in “Ce n’est pas.”
Although Disclosure introduces a new genre to its American audience, some songs seem to lack the same essence as the songs introduced at the beginning.
“Who Knew,” which features American rapper Mick Jenkins, has an ever-changing flow of the song that distracts from the serious lyrics. “Tondo” samples “Tondoho Mba” by Cameroonian artist Eko Roosenvelt and the only noticeable addition are faint drums in the background and some reshuffling of the lyrics.
Disclosure’s saving graces came in the manner of R&B artists Kehlani and Syd in “Birthday” and Khalid in “Know Your Worth” and “Talk.”
Syd’s and Kehlani’s vocals enchant listeners during the groovy R&B-inspired song about missing a past lover.
In “Know Your Worth,” Khalid sings of encouraging someone of their importance and overall was a fun, inspiring ballad. “Talk” was included in the deluxe version of “Energy” as the brothers had produced it and it was one of 2019’s biggest hits.
Disclosure may not be the first to infuse international music with household names such as EDM but it may be the start of something new and different for music in the future.