Tim Holmes and Richard Fearless, aka U.K. electronica duo Death In Vegas, are set to return June 17 with the North American release of “Scorpio Rising” on Sanctuary Records. “Scorpio,” Death In Vegas’ first album since 1999’s Time Bomb/Concrete set, “The Contino Sessions,” maintains the pair’s trademark droning guitars mixed with pulsing beats, but is lighter in tone than its moody predecessor.
However, like “Sessions,” which featured guest vocals from Iggy Pop and Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie, “Rising” also features appearances by some of rock and electronica’s most notable players, including Paul Weller, Oasis’ Liam Gallagher, Hope Sandoval, and Adult.
“We don’t think, ‘Oh, we need to do a song with so-and-so, let’s write a song for that person,'” Holmes tells Billboard.com. “We’ll do the music first and then think to ourselves, ‘How can we take this further?'”
Sandoval lends ethereal vocals and lyrics to two tracks, “Killing Smile” and “Help Yourself,” while Gallagher adds lazy psychedelia to the title track, a U.K. top-20 single in 2002. “Hands Around My Throat,” a collaboration with Adult, is as ominous as its name implies, although Weller’s contribution, a straightforwardly mod cover of Gene Clark’s 1966 song “So You Say You Lost Your Baby,” is much more upbeat. Holmes cites “different ways” as to how Death In Vegas persuaded these singers to appear on “Scorpio.”
“Paul Weller came to us, said how much he liked the previous album, and [asked if] in the future, if we thought of doing anything, we could we bear him in mind,” he says. “So we were like, ‘Yeah, okay!’ We did a gig in San Francisco at a place called Bimbo’s, and Hope came to see us there, and we talked about working together. We sort of knew each other before, and because of our work with Kevin [Shields], who used to be in My Bloody Valentine, and Hope’s band members used to be in My Bloody Valentine, so there was sort of a connection there. [Getting in touch with] Liam was just a pure chance, writing him a letter.”
Dr. L Subramaniam, a classical Indian musician who has worked with George Harrison, Herbie Hancock, and Ravi Shankar, also contributes to “Scorpio,” scoring the Indian-inspired strings on three songs. In fact, Holmes calls him Death In Vegas’ “guiding light” on the entire album.
“We were with him at the beginning and all the way through out the whole creative process of making the record, we were constantly in touch with him,” he says. “He actually has the very last note you hear on the album. I think that’s quite fitting, it’s a nice little full stop, if you like.”
The duo is hoping to tour North America with a full band later this year.