The army of collaborators revisited...
There’s a perception – a misperception -– that Death In Vegas are the paramilitary wing of the coffee table brigade, bastard cousins of Zero 7and Lemon Jelly, whose musical wallpaper soundtracks the dinner parties of married couples desperate to prove they’re still with it. This is because they’re a difficult band to put a handle on. Are they dance? Rock? Too cool for school? Deliberately elusive, they allow their guest vocalists to be the stars. Their shifting notion of the ‘group’ and their icy cool have meant they’ve never really been embraced by a public who want a drummer at the back and someone sexy at the front.
This isn’t a complete retrospective; it’s the best bits of their three major-label albums plus a disc of remixes (last year’s underrated ‘Satan’s Circus’ isn’t represented). The title might as well read: “Don’t buy me, you fuck, I’m just a contractual obligation”, but buy it you must. ‘Aisha’ is the sound U2 think they’re making on‘Vertigo’: brash, almost fascistic, rock with a hip-shaking undercurrent. But Bono is too busy saving jellybabies from extinction to bare the darkness of his soul. Iggy Pop brings a genuine sense of menace to the track. ‘Scorpio Rising’ features Liam Gallagher at his croaking best and is the best thing he’s done since, oooh, 1995. ‘So You Say You Lost Your Baby’ puts Paul Weller’s voice in a better context than the Modfather has found for himself in many, many years. These chaps know how to get the best out of a vocalist.
Seriously, anyone who thinks ‘Hands Around My Throat’ is suitable background for a dinner party is either the Marquis de Sade, incarcerated or dead. Death In Vegas are nasty fucks and ‘Milk It’ is the antithesis of the grinning “we’re all mates” showbiz of Band Aid 20. Thank the devil.