Dengue Fever – The Deepest Lake

written by: January 26, 2015
Album-art-for-The-Deepest-Lake-by-Dengue-Fever Release Date: January 27, 2015


Dengue Fever is a Los Angeles-based psychedelic band full of the assumed white boys—with the exception of Cambodian lead singer Chhom Nimol, that is. The band’s gimmick is its lyrics sung in both Khmer and English. Her language switch-ups sneak and snake through each other, illustrating the album’s form with impeccable detail. Nimol is the star of The Deepest Lake, with trippy surfer tones molding to her vocals.

This new album calls back to Dengue Fever’s earliest albums in which Nimol sang exclusively in Khmer. Language is an important part of The Deepest Lake. The album’s messages are communicated concisely through sonic details—the lyrics would sound uncomfortable in any language other than Khmer, in fact. This allows emotional, earnest tracks like “Taxi Dancer” to mingle with the chanting, pounding sounds in songs like “Rom Say Sok.” The foreign dialect isn’t meant to alienate the listener, rather, it exists to draw them in.

Language is just another instrument for Dengue Fever—it’s played, and it’s played well.

The natural sexuality of Nimol’s vocals is played up on the album, but it grows dull and repetitive after a certain point. One can only chant Khmer so many times. Near the end of The Deepest Lake, the songs nearly blur together in their similarity. This isn’t to say that these songs aren’t good, but they aren’t nearly as distinguished and engaged as the first half of the album.

Still, The Deepest Lake has multiple notable tracks. The slow, grinding rhythm and hypnotic beat of “No Sudden Moves” is undeniably the most immersive of the album. Seductive and wily bits, snared in smooth chords and suggestive sounds make the track a standout. However, as venereal as this album remains, it isn’t a shameful kind of suggestive, but more of a wry, self-assured bent of confidence in the sensuality of the work. Nimol proves to be a musical femme fatale of sorts with this album, singing dramatically and whole-heartedly.

Dengue Fever consists of five men and a goddess. The Deepest Lake returns to the band’s Khmer roots, allowing Nimol a sense of divinity and otherworldliness. Regardless of the latter half’s lack of definition, The Deepest Lake is a solid project. The lush, sultry beats are exemplified by Nimol’s vocal range, and her talent is equally highlighted by the grinding, surfer-esque melodies. Dengue Fever achieves music depicting the feminine divine—it remains so dreamy and utterly female.

Dengue Fever – The Deepest Lake:

  1. “Tokay”
  2. “No Sudden Moves”
  3. “Rom Say Sok”
  4. “Ghost Voice”
  5. “Deepest Lake on the Planet”
  6. “Cardboard Castles”
  7. “Vacant Lot”
  8. “Still Waters Run Deep”
  9. “Taxi Dancer”
  10. “Golden Flute”