Zachary Cole Smith has overcome a multitude of problems to make this intensely powerful album
Example - 'Live Life Living'
Elliot Gleave forges into new areas but still overdoes the bland bangers
This willingness to experiment should be applauded, and it’s fun (at first) to play spot the influences: ‘Next Year’ kicks the album off with Example aping an Oasis vocal over a Prodigy beat. That gives way to the saccharine sweet trance synths of ‘Kids Again’, which runs into the Italo house pianos and garage swing of ‘One More Day (Stay With Me)’.
But while the style may vary, the tone rarely does. Bar a moody-ish late-album spell, everything is designed for maximum rave uplift, displaying not so much light and dark, as light, more light and Day-Glo. The lyrics, too, tend towards the ear-rinsingly bland (as showcased on the single ‘One More Day (Stay With Me)’ “another lesson learned, another page is turned” etc.) as if Example wants to hide behind disco platitudes. And on the few occasions here he does resort to rap, there is a palpable feel of grudging ‘will-this-do’?
It’s not all bad: when it harvests its ideas from the ‘90s – particularly Underworld’s prog house classic ‘Mmm Skyscraper I Love You’ (on ‘At Night’) and The Future Sound Of London’s ‘Papua New Guinea’ (on ‘Longest Goodbye’) – there’s a sense that Example’s fifth album could have been something quite unique. Instead, ‘Live Life Living’ is as hard to stomach as its tongue twister title is to pronounce.
The film adaptation of R.L. Stine's classic horror novels is shockingly enjoyable
A defiantly bangerless take-me-seriously-as-an-artist album that reveals new charms every time you spin it
The utterly gripping story of how The Boston Globe exposed child abuse within the Catholic church
Hitmaker-for-hire makes a silk purse out of songs rejected by Rihanna, Adele and others