Review Summary: Still just as good as you remember.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Though most people probably never gave it a second thought, I found it utterly shocking when a deluxe edition of The Crystal Method's debut album, Vegas, was released late last year. To think that it has now been over ten years since this collection of some of America's best big beat was originally out seems a near impossibility to me. One reason is that the music sounds so fresh now years later. Another reason is that even now, you still can't get away from some of the tracks on this album. If you didn't listen to this album when it first came around, you'll be surprised by the number of tracks you can recognize simply from advertisements, movies and other media that has used these beats before.
The album itself remains a classic in the American electronic music genre because of the influence it had on so many other artists of the era. The variety on the album is unlike what you get from most other artists making this kind of music. Granted, this is the kind of music that was originally intended to be for the clubs, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work on it's own in any environment.
The album opens with a bit of a two-tone song in "Trip Like I Do." A full two minutes of trance pulses with quotes from The Dark Crystal invoke almost a bit of a mystical, renaissance fair feel. Then as the song begins to break down, it builds back up into an up-tempo stunner. Electronic music rarely got better than this in those days, and I still wish Filter never felt the need to jerk with what was a classic song and make that sub-par compilation.
A song in a similar vein was one of Crystal Method's first big singles, "Keep Hope Alive." Complete with Jesse Jackson quotes applied to the once fading state of club music, the song explodes like a thousand rockets taking off all at once. The roller coaster feel of the music doesn't let up once it gets going. "Cherry Twist" has a similar feel, but fails to approach the heights of the previous two tracks.
The mid-tempo tracks actually work very well for the Method as well. "High Roller" opens with a droning, throbbing assault on your headphones before twisting itself into a killer of a layered down tempo groove. The hissing and thumping back beat never lets up, helping to create the best song on the album. Another single, "Busy Child," swings along at a great pace. The samples from Eric B. and Rakim only serve to enhance the hip-hop feel to the track. I don't dance, but this song is one of the few that comes close to drawing me to the floor.
While most of the songs are instrumental, there are a couple songs featuring singer Trixie Reiss. The first of these, "Comin' Back," adheres to a more traditional song structure than the rest of the album. The hook manages to synthesize the whole package of vocals and beats to create something more than the sum of its parts, but the verses leave a bit to be desired. The other number with vocals is "Jaded." This is without a doubt the worst song on the album, as it meanders nowhere with bored sounding singing. Reiss simply doesn't bring much to the party in general, as she sounds on this album like she wanted to be Kelli Dayton circa Becoming X.
So, as with most albums, it's not perfect. But it's pretty damn good. Some might say that Scott Kirkland and Ken Jordan haven't since been able to match this album, and I'd be inclined to agree with them. Unless you're vehemently opposed to computers making music, I'd suggest taking a listen at this record. You'll find at least one song that will lodge itself in your brain for a while and start its own little party. Embrace it.