One of the most surprising things about this album is that no-one has done it before. That is, bridged the gap between Jools Holland and Annie Mac, between the ‘real music’ crew and the kind of ravers who’d be at home at a Hospitality gig.
A few remixes have nailed it – the High Contrast remodel of Adele’s ‘Hometown Glory’ remains the high water mark – but no single act that could consistently do for populist retro-soul what DJ Fresh has done for chart pop and Pendulum has for the moshers... until Rudimental. ‘Give You Up’ is the perfect illustration of this formula. For nigh-on three minutes it’s a Motown-tinged soul ballad complete with Hammond organs and funky bass, not a million miles from, say, Aloe Blacc. Downright mum-friendly, you might say. Then, slowly, a filter opens up and before you know it you’re in vintage junglist madness… and then there’s a huge gospel finale that will send festival crowds bananas.
Likewise the second big single, ‘Not Giving In’, which periodically erupts in raw soul shouts, chanting and horns over crisp d’n’b, and ‘Right Here’ which – just – manages to weave pleasingly ragged bluesy guitars into way OTT trance chords at 170bpm without flying to pieces. It could so easily seem like an exercise in box-ticking: a bit of Coldplay melancholy here, some soulful Adele huskiness there, a sprinkle of sharp-suited Plan B theatricality. But at those moments when it all locks together with the rave beat its natural charm and effectiveness cannot be denied. It’s not perfect: some of the diversions into down-tempo and house are a little less convincing, and the ‘inspirational’ lyrics can be laid on a bit thick – though the struggling-through-hard-times ‘Free’ and the bouncy ‘Hide’ are pretty tasty. But overall, the hybrids hold together: as their No. 1 single ‘Feel The Love’ has shown, this may well be an experiment with the mainstream that pays off big time.