With the recent release of Rudimental’s third successful single ‘Waiting All Night’, many might be tricked into thinking Home is a collection of upbeat urban floor fillers, inevitably destined for Jesters or as an accompaniment for a gym session. Even from the first listen it is obvious that the album offers more than allured to from their initial single releases, and those who are curious enough to give it some attention will be pleasantly rewarded.
Most people will remember Rudimental for their huge 2012 summer hit, ‘Feel the Love’, that effectively brought drum and bass to the masses through John Newman’s smooth vocals and solo brass bridge. Although second single ‘Not Giving In‘ lacked the punch and sheer surprise of its predecessor, the release of ‘Waiting All Night‘ completed what was an interesting trio that deviated from the slew of undifferentiated R&B norm that has been assaulting the charts recently. What isn’t obvious from the single releases however is the breadth of genres that Home attempts to tackle – from soul to house, the group has a fair stab at a number of styles which, for the most part, seems to work, surprisingly resulting in a rather more subdued affair than expected.
After a stellar year for Olympic opening ceremony performer Emeli Sandé, it’s hardly surprising she was chosen to feature heavily on Home. Whilst she stands out from the remaining relatively unknown artist choices, her inclusion wasn’t necessarily a decision of popularity – her voice is well placed and effortless sounding on the piano-driven ‘Free’, which really is a standout track on the album, both in its lyrics and instrumental simplicity. It acts as good contrast to the drum and bass of ‘Not Giving In’, demonstrating a degree of versatility. ‘More Than Anything’ is less of a payoff however, being an unnecessary inclusion that ultimately drags and fails to arouse listener involvement like the former. Luckily this doesn’t settle and is redeemed on one of their earlier tracks; the Disclosure-esque sounding ‘Spoons’, whose deep synth textures and duet vocals, courtesy of MNEK & Sinead Harnett, evolve on every listen. It also provides vocal balance; a good intermediate between Sandé’s and Newman’s more gospel sounding voices. The stringent ‘Hell Could Freeze’ strays even further, introducing rap into the eclectic mix constituting Rudimental’s resumé.
Whilst these sounds, taken by themselves, are detailed, polished and each unique, there are so many, that at times they fail to cohere, and heading straight from one to the next can seem jumpy and irregularly paced. Despite this, the mix of gospel through to R&B still makes for an interesting and recognisable listen that deserves acknowledgment simply by deviating from the mould. Whilst Rudimental may not yet feel at ‘home’ in a single genre, it is nevertheless a solid debut –their actions now will most likely determine their musical identity.