Won't Go Quietly

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Echoing Professor Green's career trajectory, Elliot John Gleave, aka Example, signed to Mike Skinner's The Beats label four years ago without much success, but has recently become a constant fixture in the U.K. charts thanks to a more commercial, dysfunctional electro-pop sound. Example's unique selling point, however, is that like a British version of Drake, he is both an established MC and a talented vocalist, two skills he gets to showcase on the huge pop choruses of singles like the punchy "Last Ones Standing," the Sub-Focus-produced "Kickstarts," and the infectious title track. But whereas many dance albums are prone to rehashing the big hits, or self-indulgent knob-twiddling, Won't Go Quietly, which attempts to adhere to the all killer-no filler formula, is littered with potential future singles, produced by the cream of British dance music. Mercury Prize-nominee MJ Cole eschews his signature garage sound for the Specials-esque pizzicato string-led "Something in the Water"; the in-demand Calvin Harris lends his trademark electronic bleeps to the '70s funk-disco of "Time Machine"; while "Sick Note," a bass-heavy party anthem which heavily borrows from No Doubt's "Hella Good," is produced by drum'n'bass maestros Chase and Status. This commercial hip-pop sound dominates the album, but there are a few darker moments which hark back to his more underground beginnings. "Hooligans," with its frenetic rhythms, techno guitars, and wailing sirens, is reminiscent of Dizzee Rascal's "Bonkers," the fuzzy synths and dirty basslines of "Dirty Face" is minimal electro with shades of Mr Oizo's Flat Beat, while "Won't Believe the Fools" and "Two Lives" are both Magnetic Man-style, piano-led dubstep. However, the album's highlight, "Millionaires," is certainly its most radio-friendly, a reflective acoustic ballad which owes more than just a nod to former label boss the Streets' number one "Dry Your Eyes." Echoing the joie de vivre of early Basement Jaxx, Won't Go Quietly is an inventive, confident, and exuberant collection of dance-pop songs which prove the change in direction was certainly a smart move.

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