- The Lawrence brothers' latest is effective but uninspired.
- In May 2018, Disclosure released "Ultimatum," a jazzy house track that sampled the Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara. It's a nice record, much better than the overcooked pop-house of their 2015 album, Caracal. The Lawrence brothers continue to sample West African music across two tracks on Ecstasy, their latest EP. This time, though, it's hard to give them much credit beyond finding the original music.
Both tracks are glorified edits. "Tondo" takes the disco stomper "Tondoho Mba" by the Cameroonian singer Eko Roosevelt and gives it the full festival treatment, adding tough kick drums and head-spinning build-ups. "Etran," which samples a wonderfully hypnotic number called "Heeme" by the Nigerien band Etran Finatawa, is more chilled, but the idea is the same: adapt the original for packed dance floors. Taken at face value, both tracks are great, easily the best on the EP, but the approach feels at best uninspired and at worst uncomfortable. Why are these white, British, Grammy-nominated artists releasing rudimentary edits of West African songs? Has the creative well run that dry?
The rest of the EP suggests not. Disclosure are at their best making peak-time house, as heard on both the title track and "Expressing What Matters." The latter is the highlight here, cutting and pasting the lovely vocals from Boz Scaggs' 1976 hit "Lowdown" over a jittery house groove. Midway through, trumpets and trombones erupt in a blast of pure flamboyance, before the drums thump back in. It's easy, effective summer fare. Less impressive is "Get Close," the EP's only dud. A cartoonish house cut with jarring vocals and a clumsy groove, it's an old track that "never saw the light of day," say the duo. Maybe it should've stayed that way.
03. Expressing What Matters
05. Get Close