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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oceans of Venus
Dengue Fever are a group of eclectic LA hipsters fronted by a bona fide Cambodian pop star (Chhom Nimol), who make a heady brew informed by retro spy-movie soundtracks, psychedelia, lounge jazz and rock and roll. Apparently influenced by organist Ethan Holtzman's trips to Cambodia in 1997 when a unique local 60s-era rock was still prevalent, the band's sound is fleshed...
Published on 24 Feb. 2008 by Demob Happy

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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great music, horrid singing
I heard Dengue Fever on the world service so bought this on spec. I love the instrumentals but can't get on with the singing. Great Doors type feeling to the vibe tho'.
Published on 10 Aug. 2010 by RedAgnes


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oceans of Venus, 24 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Venus on Earth (Audio CD)
Dengue Fever are a group of eclectic LA hipsters fronted by a bona fide Cambodian pop star (Chhom Nimol), who make a heady brew informed by retro spy-movie soundtracks, psychedelia, lounge jazz and rock and roll. Apparently influenced by organist Ethan Holtzman's trips to Cambodia in 1997 when a unique local 60s-era rock was still prevalent, the band's sound is fleshed out with wide ranging influences from Ethiopian jazz, surf, and garage rock. Nimol's sings mostly in Khmer, giving it distinct Eastern melodies, while the sonic landscape is a mish-mash of retro stylings that would make it ideal for a Quentin Tarrantino or Jim Jarmusch soundtrack. In fact, if you like this you would do well to pick up the latter's Broken Flowers OST, which features the likeminded Holly Golightly and a selection of tracks from the Ethiopian Jazz scene popularised by the Ethiopiques series of compilations.

Beyond all the esoterica, however, Venus on Earth is simply great fun, a collection of left-field pop songs full of hooks and hypnotic grooves. It varies from the Cambodian pyschedelia of opener 'Seeing Hands' to the more American rock'n'roll infused 'Tiger Phone Card' and 'Sober Driver', which feature male back-up vocals and English lyrics. Dengue Fever are strongest, though, when Nimol is allowed to soar and dip alone like a Khmer Liz Frasier. 'Clipped Wings' and 'Woman in the Shoes' do this best, with the vocals beguiling over brooding and intoxocating atmospherics. In the latter, Nimol shifts stealthily between Khmer and English, and you're caught off guard when the lyrics gain a sudden eerie lucidity: "close to me, holding hands at the bottom of the sea / I'll hold you tight until you can't breath".

Foreign language music is often given the rather summary and dismissive categorisation of 'World Music', but this is a narrow and dogmatic viewpoint. Just as current buzz acts such as Vampire Weekend and Yeasayer look further afield for musical reference points, there are numerous acts on the World circuit making exciting and adventurous music that seems set to be embraced by a wider audience. If you like this, try aforementioned artists or soundtracks, or check out Crammed label's '20 Ways to Float Through Walls'. Open your ears and enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Venus on Earth - Bliss, 11 Feb. 2009
By 
Mr. Richard G. Foulkes (North Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Venus On Earth (Audio CD)
Wonderful album from start to finish. Great rythms, great vocals, very catchy and very fresh. Originally saw the band perform on Later with Jools Holland and they immediately made an impression, purchased the album and was delighted. Have since played over and over and whether turned up loud with friends or played quietly as background music, the songs carry an energy which gently transports the listener to a place very seldom visited these days. The album begins with the sublime Seeing Hands, moves on to the very catchy rythms, amusing and sincere lyrics of Tiger Phone Card and Sober Driver, continues to the heartfelt beauty of Tooth and Nail and finishes with a stunning live recording of One Thousand Tears of a Tarantula, a truly effervescent song which demonstrates the abilty and versatility of the entire band and a "tune" which would fill the floor of any discerning club. Get bitten and catch the fever!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alternatively Khymer !, 30 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Venus On Earth (Audio CD)
I bought this solely on strength of their showing on Later with Jools Holland - OK, you take the gamble the band might prove to be just a "two track wonder" . Luckily, even on first play it's very clear indeed that Dengue Fever are anything but . After that , this is one that grows and grows , endlessly replayable .

Songs are either in English or Khymer. The ones in English help map the ups and downs of a relationship .When Chomm Nimol then sings in Khymer, you somehow know exactly how she feels and why, even though you may not actually understand a single word. Her vocals always come from the heart. Its her descent into then escape from melancholy in "Monsoon Of Perfume" then " Integration" following the (in English) "Sober Driver" bust-up that really got me hooked .

You might guess that Chomm comes up with the Khymer lyrics and the rest of the band the English. But you'd guess wrong -the whole band has lived long enough in Cambodia to learn Khymer!

The CD uploads as "Alternative " in genre. This in itself , like any "Western" band labelled "World Music" is often a very good omen indeed - a sign that the music industry hasn't build a pigeon hole for this one yet , so you are likely to be in for something fresh, original, different

For me "Venus onEarth" has a feel not unlike the similarly "Alternative" and just as addictive "Air" from Agua de Annique (Anneke van Giersbergen) . It might also well in fact appeal to some fans of other European "female fronted" bands similarly built around seriously great singer -songwriters (Within Temptation, Delain, Kingfisher Sky, Stream of Passion, Leave Eyes , Midnattsol -to name but six !) ...not that you will you have ever yet heard any of these on Jools "Anywhere But" Holland.

I don't watch Jools so often now
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5.0 out of 5 stars very fresh, style like nothing you ve heard before, 10 Aug. 2009
By 
The O (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Venus On Earth (Audio CD)
Surf rock, Cambodian lyrics, psychedelic sound, a weird "Tarantino" atmosphere of epic cinematic melodies... I ve seen them live and they are as fun, I guess this transcendence of singing in a completely different language is liberating, everything comes out effortlessly...it s like a improvised party with no identity where everybody is invited... Totally enjoyed it!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music review, 20 April 2009
This review is from: Venus On Earth (Audio CD)
New York cool meets Cambodia lounge. You either love it or cannot make your mind up. I love it.
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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great music, horrid singing, 10 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Venus On Earth (Audio CD)
I heard Dengue Fever on the world service so bought this on spec. I love the instrumentals but can't get on with the singing. Great Doors type feeling to the vibe tho'.
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