BMG - 2002 - 47 minutes

Death in Vegas' last album, 'The Contino Sessions', was one of the suprises of 1999. Recruiting the likes of Iggy Pop, Bobby McKenzie and Dot Allison, the duo of Richard Fearless and Tim Holmes showed just how far they'd come from the big beat scene they were originally lumped in with - jumping across styles, but somehow managing to make it work. More than can be said for 'Scorpio Rising', a major disappointment which even with repeated listens will fail to grab you like its predecessor.

It begins brilliantly with the opening salvo of 'Leather' and 'Girls', all whirring electronics and upfront drums giving way to dreaminess, but the album never regains this intensity. Because neither Fearless or Holmes are frontmen they're at the mercy of the vocalists to really make the album work and none of the performances here hit home. Liam Gallagher bleats his way across the lazy title track, Paul Weller's contribution would work better on one of his own albums while the two tracks with former Mazzy Star vocalist Hope Sandoval pale in comparison to her solo stuff - and her track on the Chemical Brothers' 'Surrender'.

There are some great ideas and strings on 'Scorpio Rising', but maybe next time Fearless and Holmes should think about either taking the mic themselves or find some unknowns where the weight of expectation won't be so heavy. Either way, they have a much better album in them than this one.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Leather - Girls - Hands Around My Throat - 23 Lies - Scorpio Rising - Killing Smile - Natja - So You Say You Lost Your Baby - Diving Horses - Help Yourself