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A Wide Smattering

Death In Vegas
Dead Elvis
(Time Bomb/Concrete)

When I first saw the video for "Dirt" on MTV, I thought that Death In Vegas was going to be huge. That one song effectively combined huge beats, a dirty-sounding guitar sample, and great crowd-pumped samples into a massively catchy song. I went out and found the album soon afterward, hoping that I'd found a big winner.

What I got was a complete mish-mash of sound. After starting out with an old-school shuffle beat and an almost funk track, things go into bizarre, reggae-influenced electronica for awhile before slamming into the above mentioned track. Not only that, but after it was over things got even stranger. Instead of going back into the sounds of the earlier tracks on the release, they drop that sound almost altogether for trip-hop, noir, and ambient.

While the album does sound like someone with multiple personalities has put it together, the strange thing is that it actually works a fair amount of the time. Despite the cheesy attempts at throwing some ragga into the mixing pot during the beginning of the release, the group lays down some serious grooves on a couple of the middle tracks on the release (including the aforementioned "Dirt," the excellent "Rocco," and the stuttering "Rekkit.") before closing out the disc with some truly spooky atmospherics. Not only that, but they ditch all vocal samples one the second half of the album, giving things a smoother flow overall and a cleaner sound (the jerky sample on "Twist And Crawl" almost drags the album to a stop).

In fact, it's the second half of the disc that really saves Dead Elvis from becoming a big mess. With the 1-2-3 punch of the louder songs mentioned above, the group drops things off and chills them out with the middle-eastern influence on "Amber," and once again brings back sort of a dub-reggae sound (this time managing to make it work) and almost droney sound of "Rematerialised." Basically, it's one of those releases that most listeners probably won't like every track, simply because the styles differ so much and a couple times they simply don't work very well. There is some really great stuff on it, though, it's just a reason to use the program feature on your CD player.

Rating: 6.5