Despite the thumping bass lines that dominate the surface level of the album, scratch away a layer of Rudimental’s We The Generation and you will discover a surprisingly soulful work. Though occasionally its wide eyed optimism gets the better of it, and it veers more than once into territory that could only be described as saccharine, ultimately We The Generation is a breath of fresh air, not only in terms of Rudimental’s career, but when judged as part of the drum and bass canon as a whole.
The work is repeatedly punctuated by some very high profile guest spots, amongst them Ed Sheeran, who lends his pipes to Lay It All On Me. Nonetheless, it’s a credit to Rudimental that despite the appearance of musicians like Sheeran and Lianna La Havas, they hold their own amidst the sea of guest vocalists, and We The Generation ultimately never sounds like anything but a Rudimental album.
Just as impressively, Rudimental know when to allow the high octane proceedings to slow down a little, and tracks like Never Let You Go greatly benefit from their brief moments of instrumental quiet and calm. That said, the record does quite quickly develop a rigid formula, and the breakdowns that erupt over the course of the album’s latter half feel formulaic. The changing tempos across a number like Bloodstream, for example, seem artificial and forced, and ultimately detract from the proceedings.
Nonetheless, it would be wrong to imply that We The Generation isn’t fun: even at its most sappy and rigid, it still manages to excite and entertain. It’s a sweet, considered release, and though it stumbles now and then, it still has to be commended for trying something genuinely new.