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There really isn't a name for what Dengue Fever is doing yet. Maybe "psychedelic ethno-rock," or "retro global pop" -- some special cocktail of words is needed to describe a sound that plucks from the flotsam and jetsam of global culture and crafts the freshest sound from the oddest materials: vintage organ, funk beats, surf and psychedelic rock. Then add in the ethereal howl of Bollywood singers, and a Cambodian lead singer singing in Khmer. Based in LA., members of Dengue Fever (who've played with everyone from Dieselhead to Beck) stumbled on some Cambodian rock from the 1960s and '70s and were so inspired they decided to start a tribute band, but they faced one stumbling block: they needed a singer. Singer Chhom Nimol had achieved pop stardom in Cambodia and was working the lucrative wedding circuit in Los Angeles when she auditioned. The fit was immediate and obvious, and they set down to recording the first CD. Their first release consisted mainly of faithful covers of what, to Nimol, was essentially classic (Cambodian) rock. Nimol proved to be the group's secret weapon: her voice defies gravity, floating up into the heady climes of Asian pop (where most western singers fear to tread) and redefining pop as we know it. Their second release, 2005's Escape From Dragon House, saw the group taking more license with their sound, straying into original territory while still staying true to their inspiration. The group somehow catches the spirit of the early rock revolution, the time when youth culture blossomed into its first innocently libidinous expression and people around the world took up instruments in an attempt to duplicate a sound that had migrated from Africa and matured on a Southern Californian beach.
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