Gritty UK pop with underground influences...
Ground Control Album Artwork

There’s a case to be made for Rudimental being the most under-rated success story in British music. The project’s longevity – almost a decade now – and sustained hit rate means that there has never been a chance to view them objectively. Indeed, the fast-paced nature of UK music in the past 10 years obscures just how refreshing, how remarkable it was to see a group of working class kids from London bring what was essentially underground music to the charts.

‘Ground Control’ continues to hinge between the underground and the Top 40, channelling UKG, drum ‘n’ bass, and more while adding some pop spice. Split across two sides of eight tracks, it bursts into life on 2-step opener ‘Come Over’ before the sunshine pop of ‘Jumper’ or the Hardy Caprio aided ‘Ghost’.

‘So Sorry’ combines Rudimental with Skream – indeed, Magnetic Man’s career could be viewed as a Rudie antecedent – and it’s a house mover, with some slick yet soulful vocals. A pot pourri of styles, ‘Ground Control’ is often at its best when it aims for immediacy – ‘Make You Move’ is an excellent UKG cut, something that would garner a host more respect were it released on, say, Kiwi Rekords. ‘Instajets’ meanwhile features a dream team line up of D Double E and BackRoad Gee, with a sample of their work with The Game to boot.

It doesn’t all bang, though. A project as diverse on this won’t please everyone, and – as ever – Rudimental’s pop-meets-street-culture relationship means that the slickness of disco mover ‘Handle My Own’ sits in a different world from a Kojey Radical feature (on the emphatic jungle roller ‘Distance’). But maybe that’s the point – the original playlist group, Rudimental are continually updating themselves, continually in evolution. ‘Ground Control’ is another aspect in that journey, and there’s more than enough here to prove that the London group aren’t going to come in to land any time soon.

7/10

Words: Robin Murray

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