To be honest right from the get go, it has to be said that I’m hardly in Rudimental’s core demographic. The quartet of Piers Agget, Kesi Dryden, Amir Amor and DJ Locksmith cut their teeth on the London drum and bass scene and a glance at the tracklisting of their debut album (something featuring so and so) suggests that Home might well be just another succession of faceless dance tracks helmed by a succession of faceless vocalists and not necessarily the first point of call for my listening choice.
The truth is actually a far more interesting proposition. While they do have moments when they descend into Radio 1 style tedium (‘Spoons’, ‘Powerless’), when Rudimental hit their stride it’s something to behold. The high points come on the two tracks featuring John Newman, the possessor of voice that manages to inject a sense of genuine soul into the hectic beats of booming bass lines. ‘Feel The Love’ is one of those rare occasions these days when significant commercial success is matched by artistic ambition. What makes Rudimental stand out (and also helps the more mature listener find an access point) is their dedication to such old fashioned notions as songwriting and musicianship.
Thus Home features dynamics, choruses, twists, a bit of hip-hop, trumpets and Emeli Sande (but we won’t hold that last one against them). Importantly, far from coming across as that combination of studio heads and a cast of hired extras, Rudimental sound like a living, breathing collective. ‘Not Giving In’ repeats the trick of their first number one, adding Alex Clare to the mix, and even manages to build on it. It’s certainly not something we haven’t heard before – this kind of thing tends to rear its head every few years – but not only will it thrill those experiencing it for the first time, there’s more than enough to keep the older and perhaps less easily impressed coming back for more. As mentioned, they do let the quality slip at times yet Rudimental do have the ability to leave the listener genuinely excited, whatever their persuasion, and for that they’re definitely worthy of your attention.