It’s been a while, but Richard Fearless is back among us to resurrect the Death In Vegas name. It turns out that he’s had it packed away all along for safekeeping since 2004, rather than renouncing it altogether – but now he has returned with Trans Love Energies we can look forward to hearing many more albums under the moniker.
Assuming full control of the name, Fearless is now also dabbling with vocals, rather like close contemporary David Holmes did on I Heard Wonders. Whereas Holmes’ opus was in tribute to his mother, and found him moving into shoegaze territory, Fearless is keeping the trademark Death In Vegas sounds very much alive. Darkly shaded electronics are shot through with a sliver of menace as the vocalist shows a hint of the blade in Black Hole, while Medication is strangely enchanted with its whispered entreaties.
And yet the dancefloor has not yet been fully forsaken, as the eerie Your Loft, My Acid shows. The strangely disembodied voice of Austra‘s Katie Stelmanis floats above a beat that could easily have been imported from Detroit or Chicago, Fearless putting his time in America to good use – and the resultant riff is a catchy one that resonates strongly in the brain. While this is relatively introverted Scissors is far more direct and plain speaking Fearless proclaiming how “I wanna get high tonight” with more than a passing resemblance to the philosophy of Bobby Gillespie.
The so-called ‘record shop’ influences of Krautrock are present and correct, but Fearless makes sure they are sensitively used. NEU! and Can are perhaps the most prevalent, though the humour of the latter is perhaps inevitably squeezed out, for this is not humourous music. At no time do these dominate at the expense of the powerful Death In Vegas personality, though, and Fearless moves between dense sound pictures and floated dancefloor tracks with apparent ease.
It’s clear that Trans Love Energies has been a long time in the making, but Fearless has managed to make it sound like a fresh piece of work. The night time cityscapes blend in to each other seamlessly, though with an edge to the sound that keeps the listener on their toes, rather like walking home late at night but keeping a wary eye on the progress of the man behind. With this frisson of menace