Death in Vegas

[The Contino Sessions sleeve]"The Contino Sessions" (Album, 1999) !DSA Recommended!

Time Bomb / Concrete

Death in Vegas have lately acquired a "goth" tag which is curious, when you consider they used to be an integral part of the Big Beat scene. However, on first listen to this album, it's not hard to see why. It's a lot more downbeat than I expected after hearing it described as "cock rock" in a recent interview with frontman Richard Fearless. It's moody, pounding, and even gloomy in places. Even the song titles conjure up a mood of gloom.

Opening track Dirge features the saintly vocals of Dot Allison repeating "la la la" over and over, and sounds like one of the better efforts from the shoegazing scene. In fact, a number of Fearless' obvious influences appear on The Contino Sessions. Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie pops up, with his distinctive voice muttering insanities all over the dub narcosis of Soul Auctioneer. Jim Reid from The Jesus & Marychain also appears, sounding uncannily like wee Bobby on Little Sister. And there's the Godfather of Punk himself, Mr Iggy Pop, giving a powerhouse performance on Aisha. They've even roped in members of the London Community Gospel Choir for Aladdin's Story, which reminds me of something off the last Spiritualized album.

Despite the seeming disparity between influences, the tracks work brilliantly as a whole, and I can't stop playing it. Guess that makes this my choice for the best album of 1999. 9/10

Anna Jellinek