Jonjon reviews the long-awaited Death in Vegas record. Isn't blown away:
I can’t honestly recommend this album. The first half has some excellent tracks (Your Loft My Acid springs to mind) but it certainly doesn’t break any new ground and the second half drags. I’ve had difficultly writing this review because the album was so “meh” (sorry). It isn’t bland but it certainly isn’t original. Neither do I loathe it but I can’t sing its praises from the rooftops either.
From what little I’ve heard of earlier Death in Vegas albums it doesn’t sound too similar to their back catalogue (Editor's note: it is the first record in which Richard Fearless has taken lead vocal duties). You can recognise the style but it has moved on (and one would hope so – how many people rate 1994 as a highpoint for music?). It’s certainly more “dance” than “indie”... if we can agree on their definitions (and we can’t). If you’re basically ignorant of their whole back catalogue this won’t blow you away. It ignores the current trends in dance, staying within the confines of “indie dance” (I’m not going to attempt a definition) and to my mind could have been released five or ten years ago to great acclaim.
Bands, especially when they’ve been around for any amount of time face a difficult decision – do they change their sound (and hope that audiences continue to accept their “sound” redone numerous times) or change direction and risk alienating their audience? For example, The Chemical Brothers changed their sound radically while maintaining the slimmest measure of popularity. Death in Vegas has more tinkered with their sound from their mid 90s beginnings rather than change to reflect trends. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it does seem they have decided to reward long terms fans rather than attempt to gain a new audience. It feels more like they’ve decided to go the Prodigy route and from this I wonder how far Death in Vegas can be from the nostalgia act at a festival.
There is still originality in their work but it's five or six years late. I don’t see many “dance” or “indie” (such vast genres/generalisations) fans that are into the direction those genres have moved in the last half decade being won over by this, either as an introduction to their earlier releases or as an introduction to the band. Trans-Love Energies has a sound that has been done earlier and to the same quality by others. Ten years ago it would have caused a stir due to the talent involved and the new direction it heralded, five years ago it would have stirred some interest due to the quality of some of the tracks, but now it just feels dated and tired.
Review by Jonjon
Read Bobbysix.com's exclusive interview with Death In Vegas' Richard Fearless here.