Dirty Vegas

Dirty Vegas

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Capitalizing on the nearly ubiquitous "Days Go By" (courtesy of a Mitsubishi auto advertisement), the Dirty Vegas trio released their self-titled debut in mid-2002. The album is largely made up of desultory rocktronica, but just consider the band's crossover potential; it's conceivable this album could be accepted by fans of Paul Oakenfold, the Verve, and *NSYNC -- all at the same time. The beats are up-tempo, but the atmosphere is nocturnal; singer Steve Smith is detached but slightly confessional, poised midway from Richard Ashcroft to J.C. Timberlake. Unfortunately, he's also the deliverer of some seriously bland lyrics: "ask me tomorrow what I think of yesterday/there's so many things that I cannot explain," or on the hit, "days go by and still I think of you/days when I couldn't live my life without you, without you." As much as the vocals, however, the fault for Dirty Vegas lies with the unambitious production; Dirty Vegas make a crossover group like Underworld sound positively edgy in comparison. Guitars, when they appear, are synthetic or blandly textured; slotted trance effects bounce through the mix, and the songs move predictably from beats to breakdown to beatless vocal and back to beats with little attempt to try something new. The band finally opens up later on the album, with a few imaginative productions slanted either toward a very smooth version of classic acid house ("Throwing Shapes") or Urban Hymns-type ballads ("Candles"). Yes, they may be good at selling the mystique of youth to middle-aged car buyers, but there's little else of promise here.

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