Customer Review

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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Nov 2008 21:04:21 GMT
Sera69 says:
Great review. Thanks :o)
Totally agree with you about the lazy categorization in the West of 'World Music'
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

4.2 out of 5 stars (6 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: London / Grenoble

Top Reviewer Ranking: 10,667