A look at the cast of characters above might lead you to believe they're members of a drama production - not so, though. They're the six members of Cambodian pop sensation Dengue Fever, and they just released their third full-length album, Venus on Earth, earlier this week. It's a filling mix of Khmer Rock, Bollywood Soundtracks, Ethiopian Jazz, and American R&B that's a unique sound unlike anything else you're listening to. While the band first started out doing covers of Cambodian pop classics from the 60's, this latest effort presents eleven brand new compositions given birth from the minds of the band's members.
Much of the vocal work is performed by Chhom Nimol, the one Cambodian in the group, who was already a famous singer in her home country before being asked to front the group. Her voice stays true to its native tongue, and indeed many of the lyrics are sung in Khmer (Seeing Hands, below). Even on tracks where she sings in English, her accent is unmistakable, unlike another Asian band which may come to mind - Asobi Seksu. On some of the tracks (for example Sober Driver, below) Zac Holtzman, the group's guitarist, provides some vocal counterpoints to Chhom.
Dengue Fever - Seeing Hands : Venus On Earth
Dengue Fever - Sober Driver : Venus On Earth
and an older live track:
Dengue Fever - Doo Wop (Live at Rickshaw Stop, February 18, 2005) : Sip Off The Mekong