Release Date: Oct 9, 2015
Record label: Asylum
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
It's impressive that Rudimental have managed to squeeze enough studio time into their busy touring schedule to produce this strong follow-up to their 2013 debut. 'We The Generation' is full of catchy, radio-friendly earworms tailor-made for maximum impact at their blistering live performances. Opener 'I Will For Love' is a powerful statement of intent.'We The Generation' feat Mahalia is a worthy title track: pitched-down hip hop-esque vocal samples paired with plucked guitar strings and brass chords provide a catchy build-up to its central statement.
Rudimental pull in the big name guest stars on their second studio album, We the Generation. The electronic producers have pulled in everyone from multimillion-selling pop star Ed Sheehan to grime king Dizzee Rascal, to the R&B legend Bobby Womack (now deceased) and many others on Rudimental’s new disc. The result, not surprisingly, is a mixed bag.
Rudimental are one of the great UK pop success stories of recent years, bringing drum and bass to a massive audience without compromising its edginess or soulful roots, and finding suitable vocalists for the fight in Ella Eyre and John Newman. Their thrilling songs have been a refreshing shot in the arm. So how to follow up Home, the record that effectively made all this possible? Do they go for more of the same or attempt to branch out further? As it turns out, We The Generation veers towards more of the same – but feels diluted in comparison.
You can’t deny it, Rudimental have hit on a formula. Bursting out of Hackney in 2012, their blend of chunky drum’n’bass rhythms and winsome singer-songwriter bits – supplied by a strong guest cast including John Newman, MNEK and Emeli Sandé – rocketed the four-piece to the top of the UK album chart (with 2013’s ‘Home’) and into ballroom venues and muddy festival fields across Europe. In The Streets’ ‘Let’s Push Things Forward’, Mike Skinner proclaimed he made “[i]bangers, not anthems[/i]”.
The timing of east London collective Rudimental’s follow-up to their debut, Home, feels a couple of months late. Songs such as I Will for Love and the Ella Eyre collaboration Too Cool – both of which are propelled by their trademark drum’n’bass-fuelled choruses – are precision-tooled for summer festivals, not chilly autumn commutes. Second time around, however, that quiet-loud-quiet dynamic is too heavily signposted, the album working better when it relaxes into the pulsating throb of Rumour Mill, Foreign World’s sensual euphoria or the 90s R&B of Common Emotion.