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The Contino Sessions

Death In Vegas

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Album Review

The amount of hype that greeted this album upon release was notable even by U.K. press terms, leading to quite an unexpected amount of overall attention upon the band's second release. Justified? Not quite — it's important to approach this CD on its own terms, and on that level it's a good album, but not a great one. Claimed goals at being inspired by Primal Scream's Screamadelica aside, Contino doesn't achieve anything near the same sense of reach and sweep as that album did, not to releases like My Bloody Valentine's Loveless and other cited role models. The Richard Fearless/Tim Holmes combination here seems to restrict itself to production and arrangement, commissioning a variety of players, notably a key duo of guitarist Ian Button and bassist Mat Flint, to interpret their songs under their overall guidance. Button and Flint are quite good at what they do — the two get to shine right at the start on the crawling build and freakout of "Dirge" — but sometimes an overall mood is set without much being added to it. Slow, steady beats and breaks flesh out things reasonably enough. The band's ace in the hole lies with the series of guest vocalists, starting (perhaps unsurprisingly) with Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie. Jesus and Mary Chain singer Jim Reid, Scottish singer Dot Allison, and punk legend Iggy Pop also take a bow, the latter guesting on the album's undoubted highlight, the aggressive, energetic "Aisha." Perhaps the most interesting move, though, is on "Aladdin's Story," with the London Community Gospel Choir taking a bow in the same way they did with Spiritualized. At base, Contino is a reasonably entertaining and sometimes quite compelling combination of slower dance aesthetics translated into rock & roll terms and sounds. It just isn't the end of the world, that's all.

Customer Reviews

Dirge Rocks

First heard the song at the end credits of Last House on the Left movie. One of those tunes that stays in your head after the movie is over or makes you want to stay till the lights come back on at the end of the credits. It has almost a creepy ring to it like the movie. Wacked out movie, but a nice tune. Song is good, don't know about the whole disc.

Underrated

Found them from the Last House on the Left closing. Dirge is nearly haunting and creep, but a great song. The rest of the album is fantastic as well. Aisha, in particular, is my favorite.

Awesome CD

I bought this originally at a used record store without knowing a thing about the band-- I was really surprised by the quality, there are lots of great songs on here, esp. Aladdin's Story, Broken Little Sister, Soul Auctioneer and Neptune City. Even the few I didn't like as much were technically proficient and I can see how somebody else might. Altogether great album.

Biography

Formed: 1994 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A DJ at the big beat melting pot the Sunday Social alongside the Chemical Brothers and Jon Carter, Richard Fearless formed a studio project named Death in Vegas to pump out a similar type of audio adrenaline. With the helping hand of Steve Hellier, Fearless spent two years working on material for an LP, then released Dead Elvis on Britain's Concrete label in early 1997. After it was licensed for American distribution, the single "Dirt" became a moderate MTV hit later that year. Fearless gained a...
Full Bio