Venus on Earth
Three albums in the novelty has worn off, but Dengue Fever has smartly chosen to keep evolving. Venus on Earth is at once the band's most accessible and most varied release. A recap: when first heard from in 2003 on their self-titled debut, Dengue Fever was like no other band, fronted by a Cambodian-born woman, Chhom Nimol, who paid homage to that Asian nation's pre-Pol Pot cheesy psychedelic-cum-lounge-surf-garage pop sound of the '60s/early '70s.
For Venus on Earth, the mainstream beckons, or comes as close to beckoning as it's ever going to for a band as non-mainstream as Dengue Fever. Nimol's vocals are as beguiling as ever, Ethan Holtzman's Farfisa organ still swirls, Zac Holtzman's guitars still chime and chunk, and Paul Dreux Smith's drums clang happily along. With horns provided by David Ralicke and bass from Senon Gaius Williams, Dengue Fever has softened some of the rougher edges, injected some serious soul, and added more swing to their thing. "Oceans of Venus" could be an outtake from the first B-52's album, "Clipped Wings" a lost Blondie tune, and "Woman in the Shoes" is just one of the most cuddly pop songs in ages. The groovelicious Nimol-Zac Holtzman duet "Tiger Phone Card," a tale of a long distance Phnom Penh-NYC romance, is the pop smash Yoko Ono might have had in an alternate universe.
Drenched in reverb, soaked in sweat, marinated in some phantom historical moment yet tethered to the now, Dengue Fever is more innovative and resourceful than 99-percent of the bands that receive 99 times the publicity. Source: AllMusic
* bonus tracks are included with digital download only