Grammy-winning Benny Benassi's superstar DJ status has never really been threatened, but having failed to score a chart hit since 2002's "Satisfaction," it looked as though he'd remain alongside the likes of Spiller and Black Legend on the list of Italian dance one-hit wonders. However, following his high-profile remix of Madonna's "Celebration," his commercial career has witnessed something of a surprising resurgence. Indeed, looking at the list of guest stars on his third solo album, Electroman, it seems as though he could soon be challenging David Guetta as the go-to man when U.S. urban stars want a club-friendly make-over. Unfortunately, there are occasional ventures into the same clichéd, floor-filling territory, such as the title track, a collaboration with T-Pain which sounds like a parody of the heavily Auto-Tuned fun-in-the-club anthems swamping the charts, and "Spaceship," a disappointingly generic club banger featuring Kelis and Black Eyed Peas' apl.de.ap, which may be less novel than most of the latter's derivative output, but fails to come close to the quality of the former's recent electro transition. But while comparisons with the ubiquitous Frenchmen were always going to be inevitable, Electroman is a much less calculated and more authentic dance record than One Love or Nothing But the Beat. It's difficult to see the likes of "House Music" which, despite its title, is an uncompromising slab of twisted techno packed with robotic chants and fire alarm sounds, and "Automatic B," which features nothing more than a relentless array of high-pitched, scattershot bleeps making their way onto daytime radio: the same could be said of the stoner crunk of the Ying Yang Twins-fronted "All the Way," and the bubbling, acidic synths and obedience school commands of opener "Good Girl." An acquired taste these tracks may be, but there's plenty more melodic fare on offer for those enticed by the spell-binding "Beautiful People," the steel drum-led anthem which has both rehabilitated Chris Brown's career and spent the better part of 2011 in the U.K. Top 40. "Cinema" is a clever slice of dreamy vocal house which sees singer/songwriter Gary Go compare the object of his affections to the big screen in his charming falsetto tones; his vocals also make an appearance on the OneRepublic-goes-electro of "Control" and the Swedish House Mafia-esque "Close to Me," while "Leave This Club Alone" fuses the bassline from Rihanna's "Don't Stop the Music" with Moroder-esque synths and feisty vocals from Italian diva Dhany. Sometimes too underground for a pop audience, and sometimes too commercial for longtime fans of his bass-heavy electro, Electroman risks being caught in no man's land, but there's still enough potential here to suggest Benassi could eventually thwart Guetta's attempts at world domination.
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien