Disclosure's debut album "Settle" was a shock to the system when it arrived in 2013. Not only did it introduce much of the world to Sam Smith and Jessie Ware, but it showed off a wide range of approaches to dance music that further entrenched EDM on pop radio.
The new album "Caracal" (Capitol), named for an African wildcat, is not nearly as daring, but it is far more, well, settled. "Omen," the first single, which finds Disclosure's Howard and Guy Lawrence teaming up with Smith again, is a well-crafted thrill. It shows how strongly the Lawrence brothers feel about the combination of "deep house" music and fragile, emotional singing and how potent that mix can be.
The Lawrences plug one A-list singer after another into this winning formula. Lorde seems more lighthearted than ever on the groove-driven "Magnets." The Weeknd continues his Michael Jackson-influenced vocal delivery on the sleek "Nocturnal." And Miguel lights up the minimalist "Good Intentions," while the charming "Willing & Able" should make a star out of newcomer Kwabs.
"Caracal" doesn't break new ground the way "Settle" did. Instead, it focuses on taking the Disclosure sound to new heights.
THE GRADE A-