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DENGUE FEVER / Press

“What starts out as a Klaus Schulze synthesizer space-out immediately morphs into a Jefferson Starship psych-out before finally ending up perched on a rice paddy next to a finger-snappin’ mini-skirted Cambodian chanteuse who coolly coos sweet foreign-tongued somethings in your ear against a slinky bongo beat—and that’s just in the first 45 seconds. Stick around and you’ll hear an eclectic blend that’s one part sensual Sade, one part suave Japan, and one part pop tart Dee-Lite. Sounding as if it slowly sashayed out of a Tarantino flick, this is one air-borne virus you won’t want to be inoculated against.”

“The uninitiated might be forgiven for thinking that Dengue Fever is the result of some feverish hallucination in a tropical emergency. But they're the real thing, an inspired combination of soaring Cambodian vocals from lead singer Chhom Nimol, and West Coast psychedelia as seen through the colour-drenched lens of Cambodia in the swinging Sixties....These are songs that cross multiple time zones, with sonic textures ranging freely from psychedelia to surf, mariachi to garage rock, and even Berber rhythms and Ethiopique sax...prolonged exposure to Dengue Fever is likely to bring on delirium and involuntary movements of the legs and arms. You have been warned.”

“They may be quirky, witty and influenced by 60s surf styles as well as Asian pop, but Dengue Fever are no novelty. Fronted by the cool Cambodian singer Chhom Nimol, they set out to revive and update the music that flourished in Phnom Penh back in the 60s, when local musicians were influenced by the garage styles blasting out from US forces' radio stations in Vietnam. It was a scene that was brutally crushed when the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia, so it's appropriate that there's a sense of foreboding as well as fun in many Dengue Fever songs. This is their fifth album, a self-produced set that shows them playing better than ever; one of the best tracks is a brooding instrumental that shows off their guitar, brass and keyboard work, and elsewhere they match cheerful melodies against lyrics about the arms trade and doomed love. At times they sound like an indie band with a bleak sense of humour, but Nimol's singing ensures they are still distinctive.”

“And that's the thing about Dengue Fever. They're making music that's just Western enough to be familiar and just foreign enough to be exotic. The band cannibalizes global culture and captures the heady spirit of the rock revolution, reinventing it without simply recycling it. Their giddy excitement is real and--Dare I say it?--infectious.”

“Not content to merely providing glorious pop-tunes in easily digested song-wrapped packets, Dengue Fever choose the high road of cultural exposure, forcing the hand of the listener in a bid to fully comprehend their art. Though the lyrics are readily available online for those that choose to follow the stories along with the music-- and I recommend it-- one does not have to understand the content to appreciate what it means to have a good time.”