With Scorpio Rising, Richard Fearless and Tim Holmes continue the musical transition that started with The Contino Sessions, giving up their electronic textures for a resolutely basic rock approach. The album offers a varied selection of compositions that oscillate between genres and decades, from 70's psychedelic to 90's folk.
As always, they are surrounded by special guests including Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star), Dot Allison, NoŽl Gallagher (Oasis) and Paul Weller. At first, Scorpio Rising surprises with its rough arrangements and compositions that completely embrace rock, quite antipodal to their solo projects. Psychedelic, new wave, pop-rock, folk, electro and techno cross this album without truly meeting. Each song approaches a different style corresponding to the artistic inclination of its guest (or vice versa). The result lacks homogeneity and originality and Scorpio Rising resembles a compilation, a kind of "best-of" of their rock affinities.
Though this new delivery from the Fearless-Holmes duo certainly doesn't have the range of the Contino Sessions, Scorpio Rising is nonetheless not stripped of electricity. That starts with "Hands Around My Throat", the vicious and exciting electro-rock single boosted by a very Joy Division bass. "Killing Smile" and "Help Yourself" will surely satisfy fans of Hope Sandoval and Mazzy Star while Dot Allison brushes "Diving Horses" with a light voice. "Scorpio Rising" could have been cut from an Oasis album while Susan Dillane brings some 4AD tones. The only really problematic piece, "So You Say You Lost Your Baby", is too flower-powerish with its "Paul Weller-goes-to-Haight-Hashbury" sound. Except for the useless techno interlude "Natja", "Girls" is probably the track that is the closest to Holmes's work.
Scorpio Rising is not a full-scale album but rather a collection of projects that could have been featured on the respective albums of the invited artists. A CD that will probably leave some Holmes and Fearless fans behind but will keep fans of their special guests happy.