Music » CD Reviews

Dengue Fever

Venus on Earth (M80)

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Don't let the "Cambodian rock band" tag scare you. This Los Angeles-based sextet makes global pop music every bit as eclectic and exciting as any group of displaced musicians on the planet. On Dengue Fever's third album, female singer Chhom Nimol rides a wave of echo-heavy surf guitar, ghostly synth squalls, and tricky drum rolls. It's part psych-rock, part retro throwback. When Venus on Earth isn't kicking off its shoes and fixing a '60s-flavored cocktail, it's finding inspiration in Ennio Morricone's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly score. Or it's just plain freaking out. "Tiger Phone Card" (one of the cuts sung entirely in English) rolls a shagadelic dance-pop tune into a traditional duet about a long-distance relationship that doesn't quite span the galaxy-hopping 26 million miles between here and Venus.

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