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Cannibal Courtship

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iTunes Review

Dengue Fever is an inventive melding of cultures and influences. Echoes of surf guitar pop and spy-movie themes are artfully injected into their East-meets-West psychedelic and garage rock sound. Thick organ grooves, horns and reeds, biting electric guitar, and a tight rhythm section create an alluring sound that is difficult to date or place. But Dengue Fever’s magic ingredient is Cambodian-born lead singer Chhom Nimol. Her charming and expressive voice is mesmerizing in this context. Singing in English and her native Khmer, depending on the song, she infuses the music with an exotic and mysterious quality. Tracks like “Uku,” “Sister In the Radio,” and “Durian Dowry,” sung in Khmer, are swirling and intoxicating, while “Family Business,” “Only a Friend,” and the title track, sung in English, are solid rock n’ soul cuts. Another standout is the dynamic and irresistible instrumental “Kiss of the Bufo Alvarius.” Sultry, stylish, and infectious, Cannibal Courtship, Dengue Fever’s fourth and finest release so far, finds them further refining their own globetrotting sound.

Customer Reviews

yummy discs

i love eating cds.


if u are going to eat this cd i would say the best songs to get it uku and thank you good by. i love the way she bleands sounds

Intriguing 1960s Cambodian rock influences

This Los Angeles combo continues to make some of the most unexpected music of the decade. Formed in 2001, Dengue Fever grew out of organist Ethan Holtzman’s interest in 1960s Cambodian rock. Originally setting out to cover the obscurities he’d collected on record, the addition of Cambodian vocalist Chhom Nimol gave the band an elevated sense of authenticity and set them evolving into something more original. Nimol originally stuck to singing in her native Khmer, but here she takes the step to switch between Khmer and English as the each song demands. The music remains anchored to the mix of psych, jazz, pop, garage, exotica and Indian flavors that came together in 1960s Cambodian popular music, and the seamlessness with which it all fits together continues to amaze.

The album opens on a cool note with “Cannibal Courtship.” The guitar and electric piano initially riff quietly behind Nimol’s cooing, but a bouncy, wordless chorus ramps up the volume and tension as the vocal gains passion and the music explodes into a buzzing, electric backdrop. The group overlays deep bass lines with hard fuzz guitar, free saxophone solos, and group vocals that recall the Jefferson Airplane’s ballroom days. Nimol snakes her vocal around the guitar and bass riffs of “Uku,” with finger cymbals and a flute solo adding a period feel. The group edges into the mood of spy jazz with “Sister in the Radio” and late ’50s exotica with “Kiss of the Bufo Alvarius,” leaving the listener to wonder not just what they’re listening to, but even more beguilingly, when. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]


Formed: 2001 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: World

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Even when you consider the cultural cross-pollination that goes on in large metropolitan areas, L.A.'s Dengue Fever had perhaps the strangest genesis of any band in recent memory. It's odd enough for a group of white musicians to cover psychedelic rock oldies from Cambodia, but finding a bona fide Cambodian pop star to front the band -- and sing in Khmer, no less -- is the kind of providence that could only touch a select few places on Earth. Formed in L.A.'s hipster-friendly Silver Lake area in...
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Cannibal Courtship, Dengue Fever
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