Clean Bandit are what I call a truly great pop act. They manage to appeal to the trendy crowd with their deep house credibility (the Gorgon City collaboration in particular helped them there) whilst still managing to avoid genres and maintain a level of musical freshness and creativity that lacks in so many modern acts.
"Rather Be" isn't chart-oriented enough to be considered straight up pop and isn't deep and dancey enough to be considered house. If anything it recalls a time in the early 00s, when disco-meets-ibiza chillout was the dancefloor filling sound du jour, and easy going house-lite tunes like Milky's "Just The Way You Are" and DB Boulevard's "Point Of View" were crossing over from the underground to the charts. However, whilst these decade-old songs lack 'edge' compared to the sharp bass-heavy crossover tunes we hear on the radio in 2014, Clean Bandit manage to bring some energy and back bone to the sound they throw back to. In the process they succeed in combining the best of house in 2004 with the best of house in 2014.
Their trademark string quartet intro gives way to perky raindrop synths and a life affirming piano house chorus, sung with gusto by Jess Glynne. No doubt it's the remixes that will make it to the clubs (particularly the ultra cool garage take from All About She), but the emotional peak that the original version reaches is definitely the place I'd rather be.
FOR FANS OF: Mausi, Disclosure, Tensnake