How Big How Blue How Beautiful
Elliot Gleave's a major label artist now — time for a major label sound.
You know how the name works: E.G., Example. The Brit rapper-singer-producer has come a long way from charmingly ramshackle beginnings, all those gauche rhymes and bedroom synths, and now for his fifth album he's signed to Epic, hoping to cement an already fairly comfortable position in the big league.
Progress, however, has meant a steady erosion of the more subtle melodies and chippy delivery that made his name. No more Kickstarts, basically. Now, like erstwhile collaborator Calvin Harris, Example's drawn to ever more vast synth riffs, massive rave crescendos that you'll find on any stadium house record by the likes of Avicii or the dastardly Swedish House Mafia trio, and soupy everyman lyrics that hint at depth but are all moody surface.
That moody surface covers growing up too soon over the cossack dance synths of Kids Again, tracking a faithless lover on the industrial-by-rote At Night and bemoaning our collective lot on the subterranean house of Only Human. It's a fairly bleak album only really brightened by the Italo pianos and declarations of love on One More Day (Stay With Me).
Which would be fine if there was anything truly meaty going on here, but the bulk's in the noise and the noise is bland. None of this will stop the units shifting, of course. It's just a shame to find charm sacrificed for cold commerce.