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A mixed bag, but one with generally good prizes
on 3 October 2013
Rudimental's debut album is certainly a mixed bag. It starts very well with Home, a song with a pleasantly chilled, summery vibe to it, and is one of the better tunes of the album. The next track 'Feel the Love', is easily the most recognisable song on the album, and like 'Waiting All Night', will be particularly familiar to any students, due to their regular appearance on most club playlists. They're both high quality songs, catchy in their own right and are undeniably the key to Rudimental's fast track success. John Newman's vocals complement the drum and bass group's soundscape perfectly, the raw edginess to it an unquestionably brilliant match to Rudimental's underground sounds. 'Right Here' and 'Hell Could Freeze' are also good tracks, although 'Hell...' may not be to everyone's taste; though Angel Haze's rapping is undeniably skilled, despite how you consider that particular music genre.
Then there is what can only be described as a slump in the album. The songs 'Spoons', 'Hide', 'Powerless' and 'More Than Anything' fail to reach the heights of the previous four, being slow, unmemorable and frankly skippable. This is nothing on any of the guest singers - Emile Sande is one of the UK's greatest assets, apparently - it's just the songs don't really add anything to the album. It's almost as though they added these songs because the album wasn't long enough. Things soon pick up again with 'Not Giving In', which once more features the guest vocals of John Newman, who is on even better form in this song than in 'Feel...', a song which is catchy and different enough that it's interesting to listen to. 'Baby' then follows, again, an interesting track and sandwiched perfectly between 'Not Giving In' and the aforementioned 'Waiting All Night'. The album ends with 'Free', a second song featuring Emile Sande and it's somewhat of a low point to end the album on. It's not necessarily a bad song, just a lot more depressing than the previous 11, and it leaves you feeling the opposite of how you would expect to feel based on the majority of the other songs.
One more positive thing to say about the album, however, is that the production is exquisite, and it's clear a lot of time has been put into the album prior to release, but the main problem is that there's very little consistency between songs. Whilst there is some nice leading into songs (in particular, the way 'Hell Could Freeze' leads into 'Spoons'), there is no overall sound to the album; whilst it's good to have variety, too much variety can be off-putting and this is what happens here.
As a whole, not a bad album, and for a first album, it's really quite an achievement on the part of everyone involved. 7/10.