on 16 September 2002
If you have read any of the reviews for this album elsewhere on the internet or in the music press, you will have seen they bear more resemblance to an advert for washing powder than a typical review of a Death in Vegas album. Critics have been rattling on about how this album is so much "brighter" and "less dirty" than previous Death in Vegas material. Anyone who enjoyed "The Contino sessions" like myself will have also been recoiling at the prospect of "Scorpio Rising" being a collection of "Psychedelic love songs" as one half of the duo behind DIV described their latest offering.
Fears of a soft soap approach on this album could have been heightened further on hearing the news that among the guest vocalists handpicked to make a cameo was the cashmere soft voiced Hope Sandoval, the lead singer of Mazzy Star – great voice but on a DIV record? The news that the nonchalant but irresistible wailing of Bobby Gillespie, which added grit to "the Contino Sessions" was to be replaced on this album by the more middle of the road tones of your dad's favourite - Paul Weller would have done little to abate this fear.
Fact is, from the outset this is a great album and has all the hallmarks of a Death in Vegas album – slow burning, grinding guitars, thumping bass lines, chilling song titles and so forth. The raw edgy guitar sound is punctuated perfectly by the delicate but breathy vocals of Hope Sandoval, Dot Alison and Nicola Kuperous from “Adult” as well as the Indian violin of Dr Subramanium. The dark and dirty undertones are always prevalent though - after all songs entitled “hands around my throat” and “killing Smile” are unlikely to be cheerful ditties.
Bobby Gillespie may have been transfer-listed but the vocals of this album’s big name loan player, Liam Gallagher, on the title track are his finest since the “Definitely Maybe” era. His older brother would be well advised to listen to this album to get some pointers on how baby bro.’s voice should be best employed.
This album only dropped a star because of the annoyingly tame and squeaky-clean track “So you say you lost your baby” featuring Paul Weller.
on 18 September 2002
DIV return with a long overdue new album following the previous contino rooms. once again a host of credible contributors join in, with Death in Vegas forming a kind of session band doing an exercise of 'if we were writing a Mazzy Star/Oasis/Paul Weller/ Adult (delete as applicable) song it would sound like this....
And by and large the songs are great although personally i could do without Weller. Tracks without the celebrity factor also fare well apart from Nadja which is a workaday techno splurge which makes the inclusion of its remixes (previously on the Leather Girls ep) somewhat unwelcome.
Like a chemical brothers album this awards instant satisfaction, the long-term appeal of this album may however be limited.
on 5 February 2003
Death In Vegas have been an exvellent small time dance band for a long time, only truly coming to attention after the incredible "Dirge"
However, this album is not quite as good as previous by Death In Vegas. It is slightly hijacked by the guest vocalists the Liam Gallagher and Paul Weller tracks sound like the people who supplied the vocals but not like a Death In Vegas track
The previous guest vocalists (Including indie whippet Bobby Gillespie) have been more in tune with DIV sound
By all means a great albumn, but not par for the course
on 9 September 2002
The DIV boys move further into the territory of fuzzed out rock (like the Contino sessions album) but don't don't completely forget their dance sensibility (more in evidence on Dead Elvis). Whether you will like the album depends on which of their previous albums you liked. The first track - Leather girls - is representative of the album. Masses of guitars, dance drums and whispy female oohs and aahs towards the end. There are less of the song-based tracks like their previous hit "Aisha" and more wig-outs. For counterculture dropouts, beatniks and ravers alike. All may like it, few may love it.