Rudimental are a four piece band from London (Hackney) who came to prominence in 2012 with their debut album “Home” which saw the group win the Brit Award for best single “Waiting All Night” featuring Ella Eyre.
Like fellow UK based dance group Disclosure they rely on their vocalists (some famous in their own right) to really bring their tracks forward and it is these vocalists who end up making or breaking their tracks no matter the quality.
The success of the debut album didn’t hinge on having well know starts on the big tracks. John Newman and Ella Eyre were total unknowns when the albums two big singles “Feel the love” and “Waiting All Night” were released with only Emeli Sande the established performer to guest.
When success is gained is is natural that more well known artists may feature on forthcoming projects as we have seen on the new album from Disclosure. The same can be said to a degree for Rudimental who enlist the help of Ed Sheeran (twice), Dizzee Rascal, and even the late Bobby Womack.
But it is the album’s tracks with upcoming artists that are often the more interesting.
The opener is “I Will For Love” featuring Will Heard. Whilst relatively unknown, he was the vocalist on the super track “Sun Don’t Shine” by Austrian Dance group Klangkarussell. What I love about this album is the positive message that flows throughout and this opener does exactly that.
“Never Let You Go” features Foy Vance. This was the first single to be taken from the album and when I heard it thought it was brilliant on first listen. I love the tone to the song and musically the build up and echoy vocals sounds so very beautiful. The usual Rudimental formula is used with those thumping Drum and Bass beats but the song has much more soul than it might appear.
The title track features another unknown artist Mahalia. This is a much more chilled breakbeat track but the use of the horns add this live feel that Rudimental often seem to be able to capture in their music. Lyrically this is a strong track in it’s subject matter regarding people power and how young people can stand up.
“Love Ain’t Just a Word” works brilliant. This reggae style opening with the vocals from a lady simply down as “Anne Marie” and subsequent rap from Dizzee Rascal takes the song from the Caribbean to London in what seems like a split second. The summer vibe is prevalent throughout this track.
“Rumour Mill” sees Will Heard and Anne Marie feauture. This a real soulful house number with the vocal from Heard and Marie evoking the sound of the late 90’s Garage artists. This is simple in it’s production but for me it’s one of the strongest tracks on the album.
The soulful house theme continues on the next song “Common Emotion” featuring MNEK. I as of yet have never seen anything special in MNEK and find his vocal bland without any distinguishing features. This track could have been sung by anyone. The song itself doesn’t really go anywhere and at 5.07 is far too long
Will Heard features again on “Go Far”. His voice is rich in feeling and really delivers on this track with Anne Marie doing even better on the next song “Foreign World” which is a song I really think is fantastic. It’s a really over the top song about two people in love. It’s overly dramatic and obsessive but is superb.
“You plus me were written in the stars
Picture perfect cause you move the way that I like
Take my closer to your other side
Be your oxygen, I’ll be your one and only”
Having featured on Rudimental’s biggest hit thus far “Waiting All Night” from the debut album Ella Eyre returns to lend her vocals to the track “Too Cool”. This was one on the tracklist you may well have listened to early on to see if there could be a recapturing of “Waiting All Night”. It’s structure is nearly identical to that that but it does’t have the same impact. Ella Eyre is a vocalist who I still haven’t totally warmed to since her big hit with Rudimental and her performance on “Too Cool” goes from a lethargic mumbling to shouting.
Track 10 is “Bloodstream” with Ed Sheeran. I say “with” instead of “featuring” as for me this is an Ed Sheeran song. The track was on his second album without the Rudimental sound in the latter part of the song. This version I really have down as a remix and not a track which should have been included on an album which is probably a couple of tracks too long anyway.
But regardless of that it’s a great song. Sheeran essentially is singing about a booze and drug fueled night out. The Rudimental inclusion of their trademark Drum & Bass beats do add a lot to the track and this will always be the definitive version of this song.
“Treading On Water” is one of the most least interesting songs on the album. Featuring the vocals from Sinead Hartnett the track musically is probably the most redundant song on the album as it seems like it is building but never goes anywhere. Will Heard also features on the track and does show some great range again.
British soul/blues singer Lianne La Harves is the guest on “Needn’t Speak”. This is the most non-Rudimental song you will hear but I think it’s fantastic anyway. La Harves sounds so beautiful and has one of the purest voices in the music industry currently.
“Lay It All On Me” features Ed Sheeran again. This song is receiving a massive amount of airplay at the moment and it is easy to see why as it’s the best song on the album. Sheeran sounds brilliant on this one which focuses on his voice and not his lyrical delivery or guitar playing.
The song to end the album is “New Day” featuring soul music stalwart Bobby Womack. The song is extremely poignant given that Womack passed away shortly after recording this song. The lyrics are almost a goodbye:
“Well I hear it in the distance
Like an angel calling me
I must be getting closer to finding my destiny”
Wonderful delivery from Womack and a great way to finish the album.
Rudimental have a formula which they do not stray from often but then why should they when it works so well? I would like to seem them try to incorporate different styles of vocalists in their music to try and give it a little bit of variation but overall this second album from the Hackney boys has been extremely enjoyable.