Dirty Vegas - One
UK Release Date:

18 October 2004

Track Listing:

1. Roses
2. Home Again
3. Human Love
4. Walk Into The Sun
5. Closer
6. A Million Ways
7. Don’t Throw It Away!
8. In This Life
9. Given You Everything
10. Save Me Now

Dirty Vegas - One (Parlophone)
•• Published: SoundsXP, November 2004
Original article: http://www.soundsxp.com/1358.shtml

Dirty Vegas won a 'Best Dance Recording' Grammy last year by virtue of a stateside car ad featuring their 'Days Go By' track, despite being virtually unheard of in their own backyard. But the London based trio of Ben Harris, Paul Harris (no relation) and Steve Smith, who also managed to shift a million units of their eponymous debut over the pond, seem to owe more to Crowded House than the Chemical Brothers on the strength of this offering.

Judging by the Playboy influenced artwork and by their very name, you may expect Dirty Vegas to be peddlers of sleazy electroclash or grimy, rock-flecked techno like their all-too-similarly named contemporaries, Death In Vegas, but if that is what you are after you will be sadly disappointed. Instead, 'One' is a walk through ten inoffensively nice songs that are as middle of the road as a squashed hedgehog and so neatly polished they all end up merging into one treacly mass.

Marking out individual tracks is hard as there is very little to distinguish one track from the next. 'Human Love' sounds like Simple Minds on beta-blockers, earnest and twinkling with shiny optimism but about as challenging as the £100 question on Millionaire, while single 'Walk Into The Sun' offers a Prozac-style false high. Steve Smith's Neil Finn-esque vocals are pleasant enough but it seems Dirty Vegas have been taking tips from Embrace as their music manages to be both warm and dramatic while at the same time feeling strangely empty and uninspiring.

The cliché-riddled lyrical content holds no surprises either, the chorus of 'Don't Throw It Away!' being so predictable that you find yourself finishing their sentences for them, which is surely not a good sign when listening to an album for the very first time. (Try it yourself and see how you fare, answers below: "You'd see there's one thing I can tell you / There's only one thing I can [***] / Don't throw it [****]."*). There are some nice strings and eighties era U2-style guitar-jangling, but these are not enough to prevent everything simply washing over you and covering you in a lukewarm blanket of nothingness.

It is not that 'One' gets the blood boiling or that it is particularly bad but this album is so safe and sugary that it neither inspires the listener to love Dirty Vegas or to hate them, their passionless pop merely creates an underwhelming feeling of indifference. They may have been an award-winning dance act, remixing big name artists like Madonna and Justin Timberlake, but Dirty Vegas now resemble Alan Titchmarsh in musical form – nice, friendly on the ear but ultimately bland and flavourless.

* - You guessed it! The missing words are 'Say' and 'Away'. No prizes I'm afraid.

- Ian Roullier

Copyright © Ian Roullier 2004-2014