Disclosure – Alchemy
There’s been somewhat of a turning point for UK electronic music duo Disclosure recently, one which has seen them pivot away from the chart friendly, vocally driven dance pop that had become their trademark. Though they’ve kept this part of themselves alive through high profile remixes, their recent DJ Kicks mix and singles in the vein of Never Enough was perhaps the culmination of this about face. DJ Kicks in particular, with its energetic blend of deep house and UKG, served as a proclamation of Disclosure’s current direction. “The mix should represent where we’re at now,” they said upon its release in 2021, “and where we’re at now is clubby.”
On Alchemy, their first album outside of a major label contract, they’ve stuck to this direction, as evident from the breakneck and euphoric jungle of Higher Than Ever Before or the throbbing high energy trance of A Little Bit. There’s a sense that they have been studying the dance floor, seeking out the current direction of the underground’s pulse. This means eschewing any vocally heavy tracks in favour of snappy samples and speeding BPMs that echo the spaces they’re taking inspiration from, shuffling their way through the crowd away from Sam Smith features and toward dance music in the vein of their peers.
Sun Showers is most emblematic of this shift, a track that sounds both unlike them and most like them. Essentially a pastiche of UK club tropes, Sun Showers is a radiant and bouncy banger that sounds fresh for Disclosure. But it’s in the details – layers of trippy gates, crisp percussion, and precisely chopped vocal snatches – that it sounds unmistakably their own. It’s always been their attention to detail that has singled them out from the rest, even when making chart toppers like Magnets. Applying these instincts for nuance to non-stop, non-pop dance music has made for some of their most interesting music to date. Alchemy, if anything, is a reintroduction to what Disclosure is. And right now, they’re higher than ever before.