After emerging as the closest thing to England’s answer to Eminem in 2006, Elliot Gleave, better known as Example, releases his fourth studio album titled The Evolution Of Man. We have already seen a huge development in Example’s style and maturity; from cheeky underground rapper in first album What We Made to chart-topping vocalist in Won’t Go Quietly and then again in Playing In The Shadows, it was always going to be interesting to see how much more Example could evolve in his fourth endeavour. The answer, fortunately, is plenty.
The album begins strongly with the track ‘Come Taste The Rainbow‘ produced by dubstep artist Benga, incorporating a heavy rock rhythm. It is a relieving beginning to the album, reassuring fans that Example remains no conventional popstar, maintaining his roots in rap whilst showcasing his movement into singing. Whilst it is nothing new, a very similar start to previous album Playing In The Shadows with ‘Skies Don’t Lie’, it sets the tone for a consistent and a more prominently rock driven album.
Example’s solid start continues with the anthemic, catchy tune ‘Close Enemies‘ and experimental track ‘Perfect Replacement‘ which utilises the dance and dubstep elements Example is more recently known for. Both rapping and vocalising, it is a satisfying start to an enjoyable album. However this dips a little with ‘Crying Out for Help’ and ‘Queen of Your Dreams’ where it becomes a bit ‘more of the same’ showing that Example is still vulnerable to the formulaic demands of the mainstream music industry. Nevertheless the album is quickly brightened up by the popular single ‘Say Nothing’ and chilled out track ‘All of My Lows’.
The title track ‘The Evolution of Man’ is powerful, the first in the album that you immediately want to stick on repeat. It is a strange track for Example in many ways, wholly sung and with a guitar driven beat, it is a track one might expect more from a rock band. However, having already listened to opening track ‘Come Taste The Rainbow’, perhaps this is the sound Example himself envisaged as his ‘evolution’. The good times continue with the highlight of the album, ‘One Way Mirror’. It is fuelled by the same darkness as ‘Playing in the Shadows’ on the previous album of the same name and driven by an ‘XX-esque’ beat and guitar sound. With a catchy lead synth gradually coming into play, it is a track that almost makes you retract any criticism about Example. There is no other artist that does it quite like him, and what he does he does well.
These dark elements continue towards the end of the album in the tracks, ‘Snakeskin’, ‘Blood From A Stone’ and ‘Are You Sitting Comfortably?’. They make us rethink our perceptions of Example as an artist which is obviously an impressive accomplishment. Though there is another sense of repetitiveness in ‘Are You Sitting Comfortably?’, we can not moan for something new and then dismiss it when it comes. Though we would have thought aspects of these tracks, particularly ‘Blood From A Stone’ would have been more at home on a Slipknot album, it is an intriguing and potentially divisive transition from Example, for those pining for another ‘Kickstarts’.
Barring the remixes available on the deluxe version, the album ends with popular single ‘We’ll Be Coming Back’ featuring Calvin Harris. A classic club tune, it was a wise move to end the album with this rather than the three dark tracks which preceded it.
The Evolution of Man marks a strong fourth album from an artist who has already developed so much. It satisfies fans of previous albums whilst also containing something new. Though there are a couple of ‘album-fillers’ and the occasional sense of repetitiveness, it is hard to see what more Example could have done. An experimental and throughly enjoyable album.