Tough, transcendent and sexy in a rather odd fashion.
Ian Wade 2011
Death in Vegas. Ring any bells? Made a couple of splendidly dark and menacing albums in the 1990s, Dead Elvis and the superb Contino Sessions; they then collaborated with Paul Weller, Liam Gallagher and Adult on the far-out Scorpio Rising LP of 2002, and then… Well, they seemed to vanish.
It transpires that, after the release of the drone-heavy and largely tune-free Satan’s Circus seven years ago, Richard Fearless dismantled the operation and fled to New York to be a bit arty and form Black Acid – but, with only a MySpace page and hints of an album to their name, that outfit never came to much. He came back to the UK in 2009 and has since been engaged in remixing acts, including The Horrors. But then, a few months ago, an MP3 was hoisted onto the internet, a new tune called Enforced Peace. Street parties were arranged: Death in Vegas were back.
Recorded in Shoreditch and mixed in Michigan, Trans-Love Energies is a moody and spooky affair. Silver Time Machine kicks things off in cheery style with Fearless listing various people such as Elvis, Nico and Hank leaving him and wishing said machine would help revisit them. Just as things are becoming a little depressing, along comes Black Hole, which rides along on Suicide-like banks of My Bloody Valentine-washed guitars, before the pasty early house throb of Your Loft My Acid arrives with Austra’s Katie Stelmanis giving it some ecstatic Donna Summer-in-a-dimensionless-K-hole vocals; later, on Witch Dance, she commands an erotic charge among electronic ruins.
There are nuggets of proper pop craft in amongst the sparse and dark spectrums that Death in Vegas made their own back when, with Scissors being a prime example. Lightning Bolt channels new wave-y white dub sleekness, before the album almost vanishes into the ether with the sparse Savage Love – the track snowballs into burning guitars, edging the listener nearer to the light.
Tough, transcendent and sexy in a rather odd fashion, Trans-Love Energies is a fine return and a worthy addition to the catalogue of a band whose path has become more of a fantastic voyage than a standard career.