Saturday, September 01, 2007

Dead Elvis (1997)

Death in Vegas spun out of Britain's trip hop maelstrom of the mid-'90s, the band calling itself Dead Elvis until pressure from the Presley estate forced them to use the name only for the debut album (even that no doubt a gesture of defiance) and move it along from there. "Dirt," which samples a hilariously self-important announcement from the stage of the 1969 Woodstock festival, comes on like one of those booming, overpoweringly infectious Chemical Brothers tracks. But the rest of the album is relatively sedate, leaning toward the dense, rich atmospherics of dub, with little touches of jazz and slightly larger touches of techno or electronica sprinkled in. While a good deal of this album wanders aimlessly, it never retires entirely into the background. Put it on when guests are over and someone sooner or later is bound to ask what it is.

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