Scorpio Rising

Four years after the release of its dark and haunting second album, "The Contino Sessions," England's Death in Vegas remains visionary.

Four years after the release of its dark and haunting second album, "The Contino Sessions," England's Death in Vegas remains visionary. This time around, though, the duo (Richard Fearless and Tim Holmes) is in a lighter, happier mood, as if all that pre-millennium tension has been worked out. But like "Contino," "Scorpio Rising" is a guitar-rock and electronic hybrid, and it features guest vocalists Paul Weller (a groovy cover of "So You Say You Lost Your Baby") and Adult.'s Nicola Kuperus (the electro-skewed "Hands Around My Throat"), among others. While "Diving Horses" (with Dot Allison) gets lost in its own guitar quagmire, the Liam Gallagher-fronted title track is sublime. "Help Yourself," featuring Indian violinist Dr. Subramaniam and Hope Sandoval's voice, ends the album on a euphoric high. Which makes us anxiously wonder where Death in Vegas will take us next.—MP