Disclosure packs a dance-igniting punch with EP ‘Ecstasy’

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Grade: 4.0/5.0

English electronic brother duo Disclosure has dropped its latest EP, Ecstasy, a house-filled release that stays true to what fans know and love about the group. Ecstasy, released Feb. 28, is heavy with continuously repeating beats that give the EP an almost addictive nature.

It has been about five years since Disclosure released a full-length record, but the duo has put out a series of EPs in the meantime. This EP in particular draws on African beats and samples, as well as an excellent selection of funk songs to produce a danceworthy work of music.

While all of the EP’s songs have a similar underlying, consistent beat characteristic of house music, each individual song uniquely incorporates the different samples seamlessly with what Disclosure knows how to do best — set almost anything to a driving beat.

“Ecstasy,” the title track, features a thumping backbeat with light keys added on top, mimicking vintage club music that’s become slightly more electronic, as if to bring it up to date. It’s a five-minute-long banger, and despite only having one lyric peppered in, the song is effective in hooking in listeners. The last 30 seconds end with a thumping drum beat, fading the song out slowly and gracefully.

Two of the songs on the EP embody a strong African vibe, adding a splash of diversity to Disclosure’s release. “Tondo” samples Cameroonian singer Eko Roosevelt’s strong vocals, churning out a groovy number complete with horns and bongos. 

“Expressing What Matters” combines 1970s funk with modern breakdowns, the top highlight of the EP. The tune starts with a classic drum beat, adds in faded harmonies and brings in some funky guitar. Just when listeners think it couldn’t get any better, the horn comes in, adding the icing on the cake for a song worthy of playing in Studio 54. The funk aspects of the song begin to dissolve into house beats toward the end, but the song does not lose any of its groovy nature. It’s the beautiful love child of Disclosure and well-picked samples from 1970s guitarist and icon Boz Scaggs.

“Etran” is probably the least interesting musically, but the song features an excellent vocal sampling from Niger-based band Etran Finatawa, with a good beat drop just before its halfway point. The song starts out with potential but fails to become memorable afterward, even with its pounding bass drum. It tries to redeem itself around the 3:40 mark, but the rest of the song lacks the depth needed to make it stand out.

“Get Close” goes back to Disclosure’s house roots with deep bass and vocals but shallow messages, such as “I just want to get close.” Out of all the songs on the EP, this one sounds like the most predictable one for the band, going in the direction fans likely anticipated Disclosure’s sound to go in. The song even includes one of Snoop Dogg’s most iconic lines, “Man, cut this s— off,” for comedic effect.

Although Ecstasy isn’t worse than anything Disclosure has previously put out, showing some growth for the duo, it calls for a breath of fresh air that Disclosure does not fully provide. Sure, the EP has listeners grooving at any time of day or night, but it fails to properly elevate the group to a new level of experience, instead moving it sideways. This isn’t completely a bad thing, however, as fans still know exactly what to expect since what Disclosure has released is tried and true.

Disclosure’s homages to the 1970s and 1980s are duly noted and appreciated, but leave listeners wanting more. The EP checks all the boxes: It is catchy, it pleases fans musically and it is well-produced. The next thing on Disclosure’s list should be to release a full-length album to satisfy fans who have been hanging onto lifelines like Ecstasy. But for now, Ecstasy is more than enough to tide listeners over.

Pooja Bale covers music. Contact her at [email protected].