Ooh Las Vegas - Select November 1990

QUITE WHY Deacon Blue are such an enormous stadium-sized draw these days is a bit of a mystery, given that their music is so wilfully ordinary and blokey: prissy guitar- play and tambouriney stompers as a subsitute for rock values. There's no reason why that shouldn't shift records by the shedful - some of the best music ever made is blokey through and through - but why does it spur people to such devotion that ventures like 'Ooh Las Vegas' are worth Deacon Blue's while?

This 23-track double album collects a host of B-sides, CD tracks, session stuff and tatted-up demos, adds four new tracks and retails at the price of a single album. So far so good, except that the material makes a very eloquent case for leaving it where it was - on old B-sides and CDs, and in dusty tape cupboards. Ricky Ross and company's usual cheerful user-friendliness is obscured by laboured ideas and that old B-side laxness.

Tracks like 'My America' and 'Christine' come on like Prefab Sprout without the same wit (a trap that Ross' breathy vocals are particularly prone to). The breathing space they've accorded themselves occasionally yields a nice surprise like the ghost of the Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis sound on 'Ronnie Spector', but overall 'Ooh Las Vegas' is a very tiring exercise. The unpalatable truth, is that this music is exactly what you'd expect - more of the same, but not as good. Andrew Harrison