Just six months after DJ Fresh and Rita Ora took drum ‘n’ bass to the top of the UK charts for the very first time, Rudimental’s gospel-tinged “Feel The Love” repeated the feat to confirm that its revival was now in full swing. However, the South London quartet’s decision to embrace the entire urban spectrum on their debut album, Home, suggests they’re not interested in being pigeon-holed as the genre’s saviours.
Fronted by the gloriously raspy tones of John Newman, who sounds like a veteran Memphis soul singer, but who is in fact a 20-something white guy from Yorkshire, “Not Giving In” sticks to a similar classy template as their euphoric number one single. As do the glorious brass-heavy “Waiting All Night” and the haunting “More Than Anything,” which arriving just weeks after inspired collaborations with Underworld’s Rick Smith and Wiley, prove that Emeli Sandé is far more intriguing as a guest vocalist than she is on her own dreary solo material.
But Home is just as captivating when Rudimental abandon the 180 BPM. Taking a break from squabbling with Azealia Banks on Twitter, New York’s Angel Haze showcases a softer side on the gorgeous ambient hip-hop of “Hell Could Freeze.” Emerging talent MNEK also more than holds his own against the more heavyweight guest-list on the shimmering SBTRKT-esque bass-pop of “Spoons” and “Baby.”
Meanwhile, the brooding opening title track, which recalls Amy Winehouse at her pre-Back To Black finest, and the stunning “Hide,” which harks back to the early 00s output of Erykah Badu and Jill Scott before seguing into a crisp two-step garage finale, prove Rudimental are just as comfortable tackling classy late-night soul as they are propulsive festival-ready anthems.
Goldie’s Timeless and Roni Size’s Mercury Prize-winning New Forms might be considered the benchmarks when it comes to drum ‘n’ bass long-players. But with such a joyous melting pot of sounds, Home could well be the first to be lapped up by both the mainstream and purists alike.