Album Review: Rudimental – A Toast to Our Differences (Deluxe)

Rudimental – A Toast to Our Differences [Deluxe] (7/10)

A Toast to Our Differences’ follows the No. 1 album We The Generation’ (released in 2015) and is undoubtedly an attempt to create a different and perhaps slightly mature sound, and to an extent Rudimental are successful in this. ‘Toast to Our Differences’ (ft. Shungudzo, Protoje & Hak Baker) is the lead title track and the opening song to be heard that reveals a new style to Rudimental’s music, forgoing intense, bass-led choruses for a perfect opening song, with the smooth vocals from Hak Baker and Shungudzo, and the flow from Protoje, for me is one of the standout tracks of the album. ‘1by1’ (ft. RAYE & Maleek Berry) has a similarly reggae feel to it, ‘Scared of Love’ (ft. Raye BLK & Stefflon Don) is a successful attempt at R&B and ‘Leave it for Tomorrow’ (ft. Elli Ingram) is a highly sensual pop song and a complete departure from what everyone expects from Rudimental. The same can be said for ‘Summer Love’ (ft. Rita Ora), which is no surprise Rita Ora features on a Love Ballad, as she is the queen of love!

Nonetheless, the album contains its fair share of anthemic, bass-heavy tracks that characterised Rudimental’s earlier music. Whilst these are relatively well-placed to provide intermittent bursts of energy, they make the timing of the album’s release questionable; this sort of album would arguably have been better suited to summer parties and sun-filled festivals than the ever-darkening winter nights. Strange release date notwithstanding, there are some impressive big Drum’n’Bass moments across the album. ‘Let Me Live’ (ft. Anne-Marie & Mr Eazi) which follows it is among the strongest bass-dominant tracks on it and shows the continuation of Rudimental’s skill for creating quiet verses with the build up to a massive anthemic chorus. This is no surprise as Rudimental team up with Major Lazer who are known for their big anthemic choruses and party bangers!

Drum’n’Bass and synthesised vocals are a prominent feature of A Toast to Our Differences and used to good effect in ‘Dark Clouds’ (ft. Jess Glynne & Chronixx), another big song with an almost dubstep-infused chorus contrasting the slow, reggae-inspired verses. Other ‘traditionally’ Rudimental songs include first single ‘Sun Comes Up’ (ft. James Arthur) and ‘Walk Alone’ (ft. Tom Walker) which, to me, really work, which is no surprise they released the two as singles! Their tones work really well with Rudimental’s style musically and are one of the bangers on this album.

The best tracks are spread out through the entire album, cleverly because once one banger happens, the listener will be left wanting more and more where they came from. Despite showing willingness to adapt and incorporate other elements into their music, Rudimental largely remain within their own borders and ultimately the more innovative parts of the album are overpowered by the bigger, booming attempts to create chart-topping crowd pleasers.

Overall, ‘A Toast to Our Differences’ is a very confident album, the huge success of We the Generation doubtless contributing to the assurance Rudimental exude throughout their latest release. With less need to prove themselves, the songs are no longer confined solely to drum’n’bass and the four-piece have relaxed enough to experiment. The times during which Rudimental allow themselves to leave their comfort zone and venture into reggae infused, drum’n’bass heavy tunes, but these are few and far between, with formulaic sensual pop songs weighing down the majority of the album. However, I can only hope that Rudimental will continue to develop their music towards the more refined and personal sound that can be heard at brief points throughout ‘A Toast to Our Differences’.

Get the album here | AmazoniTunes

–          Dan Bryan

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