x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Example: The Evolution of Man

The British rapper's new record has some catchy, club-worthy tines but is mostly leaden, derivative and self-indulgent.


The Evolution of Man

(Ministry of Sound)

The witty British rapper Elliot Gleave, better known as Example, is exploring hidden shallows for his fourth album. He's partied himself into oblivion, cheated on his girlfriend, had a few therapy sessions and listened to a lot of Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine. The resulting record is leaden, derivative and self-indulgent. That doesn't mean it won't be successful, of course: the bar for nu-metal-style rock/rap hybrids is not set high, and for his young fans, brought up on London's urban and dubstep sounds, the wrench of heavy guitars and the pseudo-profundity of his self-mythologising lyrics may feel interesting and raw. But the wannabe Kurt Cobain vocals and sappy sentiments ("don't speak no more / 'cos your eyes do the talking") are really unworthy of such a sharp lyricist, and the euphoric Linkin-Park-meets-Evanescence-meets-Rihanna build-ups are po-faced and pedestrian. At least the last few tracks, produced by the likes of Calvin Harris and Laidback Luke, offer some catchy, club-worthy tunes.