Dirty Vegas

Electric Love

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Grammy Award-winners for their Mitsubishi-advertised chill-out anthem "Days Gone By," British electronic trio Dirty Vegas looked to have taken their melancholic brand of guitar-charged progressive house as far as they could following their self-imposed hiatus in 2005. But having gotten their various side-projects out of their system, including lead vocalist Steve Smith's solo debut, This Town, and their score to indie film Boys & Girls' Guide to Getting Down, the South London three-piece have belatedly regrouped for their third studio album, Electric Love. Combining the swirling electronica of their 2002 self-titled debut and the melodic indie pop of their 2004 sophomore effort, One, its ten tracks would sound just as at home at a student house party as they would an Ibiza superclub, with songs echoing the angular alt-rock of Bloc Party ("Never Enough"), the epic tribal trance of Paul Van Dyk ("Pressure"), and the new wave synth pop of the Killers ("Little White Doves"). The indie disco vibes continue on the deliciously sleazy title track, which blends twisted electronic bleeps, sinister Gary Numan-style synths, and Gallic disco guitar licks; the punchy "Changes," which fuses spiky, Clash-influenced punk rock riffs with driving electro beats and some anthemic, diva-esque backing vocals, and the kaleidoscopic ambient soundscape of the Chemical Brothers-esque closing track "21st Century," which perfectly complements Smith's Bernard Sumner-inspired disengaged and compressed vocals. But for a band who originated in the U.K. house scene, it's surprising that the album falters when they drift into more commercial floor-filler territory, such as on "Weekend" which is the kind of generic "four-to-the-floor" trance-pop you'd expect from corny Clubland favorites Ultrabeat, and "Round and Round," which lazily borrows the fuzzy synth-led riff from Tiga's "You Gonna Want Me." But when Electric Love is firing on all cylinders, it's a solid comeback which fills the Hacienda guitar band-shaped hole left by the continued absence of New Order.

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