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Death in Vegas - Milk It: The Best Of

Review: Jack Foley

DEATH in Vegas celebrate their success with Concrete Records from 1997 to 2002 with the release of Milk It, a best of compilation that takes in the albums Dead Elvis, The Contino Sessions and Scorpio Rising.

Latest effort, Satan's Circus, is not included, since it marks a new direction for Richard Fearless and Tim Holmes on their self-funded label, DRONE.

With their first three albums, however, Death in Vegas placed themselves at the forefront of the genre-splicing music movement, seamlessly merging rock, punk and dance and attracting some great collaborators in the process.

Iggy Pop cropped up on the memorably sadistic Aisha, while the likes of Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie and Oasis' Liam Gallagher also contributed memorable cuts.

Milk It includes the obvious collaborations, as well as some fine stand-alone work in its own right.

Dirge, for instance, is a classic slow-builder, combining elements of electronica with rock, all offset by a dreamy, blissed out female vocal by Dot Allison singing 'la, la, la'. It was used to memorable effect on Levis' twisty jeans adverts.

Eighties throwback, Hands Around My Throat, which also cropped up on an advert, is a sleazy, dark little number that recalled the brilliance of Aisha.

While Dirt, from Dead Elvis, offers a promising glimpse of the potential Death in Vegas fulfilled with later albums.

Of the collaborations, Gillespie's haunting Soul Auctioneer is jam-packed with gutsy, painful lyrics such as 'eggs bearing insects hatching in my mind', all set around a driving beat.

While Gallagher's anthemic Scorpio Rising is a psychedelia-laced gem which has since been regarded by even Liam himself as one of the best things he's ever recorded (one is left to lament the loss of Death in Vegas from the forthcoming Oasis album).

The Modfather himself, Paul Weller, crops up on So You Say You Lost Your Baby, another slice of psychedelia that comes complete with the sort of Sixties-based melodies and guitar rifts that wouldn't seem out of place on an Austin Powers soundtrack.

If there is a niggle, it's that disc one of the two-disc set doesn't have enough on it to properly reflect the scope of Death in Vegas' work.

Hence, classic album cuts such as Neptune City, from The Contino Sessions, and Help Yourself, from Scorpio Rising, don't get a look in.

That said, the special bonus remix CD includes some really good work from The Polyphonic Spree (Scorpio Rising), Two Lone Swordsmen (Neptune City and Rekkit) and Adult (Hands Around My Throat) which showcases a different side to some of the album material.

It serves to ensure that this best of collection offers something a little bit more than the norm for retrospectives - old favourites mixed with some of the 12"s you might not have got your hands on along the way.

A quality double album from a couple of genuine music pioneers.

Track listing:
Disc: 1
1. Aisha (The Contino Sessions)
2. So You Say You Lost Your Baby (Scorpio Rising)
3. Dirt (Dead Elvis)
4. Rekkit (Dead Elvis)
5. Scorpio Rising (Scorpio Rising)
6. Soul Auctioneer (The Contino Sessions)
7. Hands Around My Throat (Scorpio Rising)
8. All That Glitters (Dead Elvis)
9. Dirge (The Contino Sessions)
10. Girls (Scorpio Rising)
11. Rematerialised (Dead Elvis)

Disc: 2
1. Aisha – Trevor Jackson Mix
2. Hands Around My Throat – Adult Mix
3. Hands Around My Throat – UXB Mix
4. Scorpio Rising – Polyphonic Spree Mix
5. One More Time (Featuring Bobby Gillespie)
6. Dirge – Slam Remix
7. Dirge – Cossack Mix
8. Dirt – Mullet Mix
9. Twist and Crawl (Full mix from import Dead Elvis)
10. Rocco – Dave Clark Mix
11. Rekkit – Two Lone Swordsmen Remix (Effective Machine)
12. Neptune City - Two Lone Swordsmen Remix 2

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