Dengue Fever 'Escape From Dragon House' LP
Dengue Fever's debut album was all covers of the cute, romantic Cambodian pop of the 1960s - Having gotten that out of their systems, they've followed it with an album of original material that shatters the language barrier with mildly psychedelic, blissed out pop.
On "Tip My Canoe", Zac Holtzman takes a stab at singing in Khmer, laying those long, mellifluous syllables over a tweaky vamp, as Nimol uses her imposing pipes to trace accents so dynamic that they sound almost vocodered as she leaps around her impressive range. "Sni Bong" channels Dick Dale through its verses and explodes into crunchy garage rock choruses, with a– wait for it– Cambodian rap bridge. "One Thousand Tears of a Tarantula" pairs sun-baked spaghetti western guitars with Nimol's clipped, forceful singing, and acoustic ballad "Hummingbird" closes the album on a quiet note, with Nimol sliding between English and Khmer. If that fact that Dengue Fever's music has been used in films as diverse as Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers and the John Cusack vehicle Must Love Dogs isn't proof enough of its potent versatility, then the ease and unity with which the band conflates idioms should be.
Catalogue number: TT002LPP
Label: Tuk Tuk Records