Rolling Stone (9/30/99, p.84) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...rock that feels like techno....Gorgeous and wasted, THE CONTINO SESSIONS sounds like blues for space cowboys."
Entertainment Weekly (10/1/99, pp.74-5) - "...[their] songs lock into a groove and slowly burrow into your consciousness....With their repetitive guitar riffs echoing against electronics...their appeal doesn't fade..."
Q (1/00, p.84) - Included in Q Magazine's "50 Best Albums of 1999."
Q (10/99, p.117) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...stands as an attention-grabbing, chapter-closing masterpiece of darkling dance-rock psychedelia."
Alternative Press (10/99, p.91) - 4 out of 5 - "...frequently [succeeding] in matching the breadth of its ambitions....THE CONTINO SESSIONS finds DIV evolving into a band who can transcend the divisions between dance and rock cultures."
Muzik (1/00, p.69) - Ranked #7 in Muzik's "Albums Of The Year '99"
Muzik (10/99, p.95) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...a sepulchral, formidable inner space where the funk is evil, the guitars bittersweet, the vocals plaintive and the basslines beautifully surly. Truth is, a band headed by a dance DJ has just made this year's best rock album..."
Mojo (Publisher) (1/00, p.31) - Ranked #25 in Mojo Magazine's "Best of 1999."
Mojo (Publisher) (10/99, p.95) - "...its vision is resolutely bleak, its atmosphere airless and unsettling....[straying] into new areas previously unexplored in dance music. [DIV] have stopped imitating and begun innovating..."
Death In Vegas: Tim Holmes (keyboards); Richard Fearless (DJ).
Additional personnel: Iggy Pop, Dot Allison, Bobby Gillespie, Jim Reid (vocals); Ian Button (guitar); Seamus Beaghen, Gary Burns (keyboards); Ali Friend (acoustic bass); Matt Flint (bass); Simon Hanson, Will Blanchard (drums); London Community Gospel Choir (background vocals).
Recorded at The Contino Rooms and The Strongroom, London, England; Electric Lady Studios, New York, New York.
Richard Fearless and Tim Holmes are the masterminds behind Death in Vegas. They wrote most of the songs on THE CONTINO SESSIONS and laid down loops, beats and electronics, their tracks augmented by a revolving cast of friends. For the most part, the album combines majestic, spacy Britrock a la Spiritualized with the studio techniques of electronica.
The opener, "Dirge," is a near-instrumental that rings electronic variations on an incessant two-chord vamp, in the manner of a modern-day Hawkwind. Several cuts are all-instrumental, leaving Fearless and Holmes to work their subtle magic on harmonically simple but texturally shifting frameworks. A couple of famous guest vocalist pop up--Iggy Pop delivers a tale of murder and mayhem on the ominous, punky "Aisha" and Jesus & Mary Chain's Jim Reid is on hand for "Broken Little Sister," a moody rocker not dissimilar to Reid's previous work. Things close on a celebratory note with the rapturous, elegantly unfolding instrumental "Neptune City."