Ground control to Major Tom: it’s been 18 months cooped up inside and the youth are looking for mashup-in-a-field catharsis, for big, festival-filling tunes that’ll get the bucket hats bouncing, for a release. Luckily, that’s what UK four-piece Rudimental specialise in; their polished bangers have the energy of a thousand leavers’ balls, and while the tepid global pop of their last album, 2019’s Toast to Our Differences, was accused of being “built-by-committee”, this time they’re built for post-pandemic euphoria.
The sounds of UK bass culture lead once more – garage especially but also grime, bassline, house and big beat – with some of their best drum’n’bass tunes yet in the Black Lives Matter-referencing Remember Their Names, where MJ Cole has been drafted in to bring some airy, soulful sparkle and romantic strings; Distance, featuring Kojey Radical and Maverick Sabre; and Hostess, as if Rihanna wrote a carnival closer. There are still songs that feel cynically minded – Be Somebody was surely made for a Love Island montage; and Handle My Own is a Basement Jaxx-ish take on the current disco trend in pop.
But for the most part, Rudimental sound energised and back to what they do best: thrilling, playful joyrides through sound-system culture. Let’s ’av it.