When talking about the lyrical inspiration for his 2012 album, Elliot John Gleave aka Example mentioned he listened to Kasabian's album Velociraptor! repeatedly, and it shows. Everything here is groovy yet streamlined, most lyrics are brash but not nearly as provocative as the rapper's Twitter account, while hooks are the biggest benefactor as they soar and spin like mid-period Beatles or Oasis tunes played over the most slick EDM beats. Anthem dance-rock gives back to anthem dance-rap on The Evolution of Man, which according to the title track ("I'm the super control freak, and I make it look so sweet/But I lost control of myself, lost control of myself") is really about the evolution of one man: Example. "Crying Out for Help" atones for its sins ("Wearing my crown, laying you down/When I'm down, when I'm down, when I'm down") over a grinding dubstep beat while "Say Nothing" ("'Cause your eyes do the talking") apologizes for demolishing a relationship over the most glorious of Dirty South beats. "All My Lows" pulls a light dance winner out of selfishness and irresponsibility ("It's a long, long time to wait/Everything I promised you was there but I was late" and the revealing "I went downhill just to up my numbers"), but it's not all electro and Yom Kippur as Muse-ish guitar rock and a backstabbing ex-girlfriend fuel the highlight single "Close Enemies." Then there's the opening "Come Taste the Rainbow," which comes on hard with a chunky guitar and a maybe-Asperger's, maybe-ADHD diagnosis for the young Example, and while these personal stories come with slapdash soul-searching and only wee slivers of insight, this is dancefloor therapy and not the usual deepness found after lying on an analyst couch. It's not the usual pop star narcissism either as this sharp, stadium strain of electronic music just doesn't allow for layered arguments, empathy, or self-doubt. Still, as the Kasabian-sized choruses stick in the head like the most delicious, stately fluff, The Evolution of Man winds up the dancefloor confessional done right, fist pumping and throwing fits as if it had karma to burn.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
feat: Calvin Harris