Album Reviews

Dirty Vegas – One

(Parlophone) UK release date: 18 October 2004

Dirty Vegas - One A couple of years back Dirty Vegas were big in dance circles, but the reasons behind their success were always hard to fathom. Days Go By, their biggest hit, was a moody soft-house song chosen for a car commercial in the US, and it catapulted the band onto a plane they may not have expected. Subsequent tracks had plenty of polish but by and large proved colourless.

So now they’ve done a Kosheen and got an attack of ‘second album maturity’, all but dropping the reliance on rhythm and moving on to a jangly, over-dubbed guitar sound. And does it work? I’m afraid not. One, for all its alluring artwork, turns out to be a record that inspires a shrug of the shoulders, an indifferent reaction.

If anything it’s all too controlled, too polished and crying out for some spontaneity, some inspiration and original thinking. Roses, for instance, is supposed to be about a once-in-a-lifetime relationship but ends up with a voice that seems to say “well, we might as well make a go of it – let’s face it, we’re not getting any younger!” You get the picture.

The FM radio sounds continue, straight down the middle of the long road. Human Love and Walk Into The Sun, two of the album’s better moments, could almost be the same song, while the following Closer doesn’t exactly push the buttons when Steve Smith sings “I wouldn’t come any closer”. Smith’s voice belongs to the Bryan Adams school of nicotine flavoured soft rock, only without the rock I’m afraid! He sings perfectly competently – no complaints there – but the emotion struggles to come through.

At last some rhythm returns, a promising sign in A Million Ways and In This Life, but once again both songs are let down lyrically and production is layered on like thick butter. The way Smith sings the word “face” becomes progressively more annoying, especially as it happens close on ten times! Give You Everything promises a bit more, with a nice sub-U2 guitar line in the middle, but it ultimately goes the same way as its predecessors.

You’ll gather from all this that One was enough for me. While there’s nothing offensive about the record, Dirty Vegas could surely have come up with something that has a bit more life and sound like it was going to get out of bed and do something more energetic. How it fares in the US will be most interesting to chart – if their record buying public go for it, I may have to find out what my hat tastes like.

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