It seemed that nothing could go wrong for Rudimental after their chart-topping 2013 debut 'Home'.
The London drum 'n' bass act, along with guest vocalists including John Newman, Emeli Sandé and Ella Eyre, captured the zeitgeist in terms of peoples' expectations of modern dance music, scoring a UK number one/Mercury Prize-nominated album in the process. It seemed that the four-piece had achieved that rare feat of balancing commercial success with indie kudos.
In order to capitalise on their success, however – or perhaps because of it - the band have enlisted a number of even better-known names for their second album. Dizzee Rascal, Lianne La Havas, Ed Sheeran and even the late Bobby Womack turn up on 'We the Generation' – but does their star billing essentially make much of a difference?
The short answer is no. If you're not predisposed to Rudimental's slickly-produced, radio-friendly tunes, there's nothing here to change your mind. Most songs bumble along pleasantly, encompassing electronica, soul and pop - like 'I Will Love You' and 'Love Ain't Just a Word' - while the aforementioned Sheeran turns in vocals on 'Bloodstream' and 'Lay It All On Me'. It's inoffensive stuff that's not particularly cutting edge or challenging; in fact, to describe it as drum 'n' bass – apart from the odd beat here and there – is almost doing a disservice to the genre.
It says a lot that despite the big names attached to this album, it's tracks featuring their lesser-known collaborators Mahalia ('We the Generation') and Will Heard ('Rumour Mill') that are most ear-catching. By attempting to appeal to both the mainstream and their drum 'n' bass roots, perhaps Rudimental are compromising on a distinct vision in the process.