“I’ve always felt that the dance music scene is too cool for us,” producer Guy Lawrence told Apple Music in 2020. It’s a bit of a surprise admission considering that he and his brother Howard—who was just 15 when they released their first music as Disclosure—were hugely responsible for reinvigorating house music in the UK in the early 2010s. “It was never our intention to be famous,” said Guy. “It was the music that we wanted to be famous, and the more work we did, the better chance it had.” While their musical peers James Blake and Mount Kimbie were redirecting dubstep towards a more organic, instrumental style, Disclosure looked to ’90s house and UK garage as inspiration for their developing sound—one that had reverence for the past but still aimed to push things forward. Their first single, 2010’s “Offline Dexterity”, generated a lot of buzz for the two Surrey teens, but it was 2012’s genre-fluid “Latch” (which made good on an irresistible vocal from another fledgling UK talent, Sam Smith) that cemented their status as British dance music’s new standard-bearers. Their debut album, Settle, would top the UK album charts nine months later. Its power lay in the complementary talents of brothers born to a rock musician father and session singer mother. Guy brought the intuitive, deeply satisfying production that delivered club credibility, while Howard’s songwriting instincts ensured an abundance of radio-friendly hooks for the duo’s tastefully curated vocalists, which included Smith, AlunaGeorge, Jessie Ware and others.
The band’s second album, Caracal, arrived in 2015 to diversify and disrupt the Disclosure blueprint. Five years, a hiatus and several appetite-whetting EPs on, they did much the same with their third. “Because of the time off, ENERGY has been a little more tactical,” Howard told Apple Music. “With the first album especially, we basically wrote songs and put them out. Now, we’ve got a wider musical vocabulary. Guy can now say, ‘I want this to sound like a French house tune,’ and I can say, ‘I want chords to make me feel this way.’ Our skills have progressed.”