Rudimental - Home (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
THERE’S a great deal of buzz surrounding British four-piece Rudimental based on the gargantuan success of their hit singles Feel The Love and Waiting All Night. Some of it is justified, some of it isn’t.
In a lot of their rhetoric, the East London group are determined to make themselves difficult to pigeon-hole. Hence, their debut album dabbles in pop, R’n‘B, gospel-flecked power-pop and soul and looks destined to become a big hit for them.
But while there’s plenty to like, this doesn’t always gel as a convincing whole. And sometimes it strives a little too hard to be populist, employing all manner of guest vocalists (including artist of the moment Emeli Sande), as well as the type of styles that are designed to maximise radio-play potential and become club floor-fillers.
Hence, the template for success is pretty easily defined no matter how hard they strive to make you think otherwise.
The same drum ‘n’ bass inflicted vibe that helped Feel The Love and Waiting All Night become such a hit is evident at several points throughout too.
Right Here, featuring Foxes, provides another early example of this, dropping an arms-in-the-air style chorus and an almost calypso sample in the Caribbean drums that are included. But basically it conforms to a winning template.
It’s better employed on Powerles, which benefits from Becky Hill’s ultra soulful vocals. And which reminded me more of a Kosheen track.
But even the first of Emeli Sande’s two contributions, More Than Anything, drops in the occasional drum ‘n’ bass element over the chorus but is better when keeping things soulful and more pop during the build-up verses. Nevertheless, it’s one of the stronger cuts, as is her second outing on album closer Free, which actually dispenses with the drum ‘n’ bass thing completely in favour of gospel inflicted soul-pop.
It’s with those two tracks in mind that I can write Rudimental are actually at their most interesting when really diversifying, as in title track and opening cut Home, which offers moody, straight-forward soul and is a great starting point, and on the Mnek and Syron featuring Spoons, which strips away the drum ‘n’ bass completely in favour of sultry house.
But that doesn’t always create a recipe for success. Some compositions try to do too many things. Hell Could Freeze is a bit of a mess, a track that combines dance with urban elements and drops one of the least convincing guest appearances (from Angel Haze), while Not Giving In is similarly all over the place, employing brass sections, soul, gospel, drum ‘n’ bass and pop. Some may call it inspired but the track never settles into one satisfying groove.
If anything Not Giving In sums up the album as a whole: always busy, sometimes over-cooked, sometimes inventive, often safe (using its drum ‘n’ bass template) and always interesting. It may not work as a cohesive whole, but it does have its moments.
And it should be interesting to see where Rudimental go from here.
Download picks: Home, Spoons, Powerless, More Than Anything, Free