Single of the Week: Dengue Fever – ‘Tokay’

dengue fever
Image source: laweekly.com

We’ve been running a fever here at Cultured Vultures HQ for some time now, but we’ve been keeping it on the down low. Why? Well, because we rather enjoying having it. So, for fear of word getting around, and leading to someone forcibly trying to treat us for it, we kept it very much to ourselves; aside from that time I babbled incoherently about it via an edition of Pulse, or when we tried to expose you to it, in a seductively strange attempt to get you infected too.

Well, here we are again, and you will be infected, you will contract Dengue Fever. This week’s Single of the Week comes courtesy of the Cambodian-American six-piece for whom I dedicate that unnecessary introductory play on the fact they share their name with a mosquito-borne, tropical disease. However, in its own way, it is kind of onto something; the music that Dengue Fever have always made shares the dizzying, woozy, burning-up sensation of a fever, but one that veers from infectious to intoxicating; fluid and semi-lucid instrumentation sways in a way that blurs the line between intentionally loosey-goosey and accidentally dazed and wobbly on its feet from the oppressive heat.

The band’s latest single – off of their sixth album, The Deepest Lake – ‘Tokay’ is another murky and muggy gem of old-school American psychedelia meets classic Cambodian-pop, with added surf guitar, filtered through a more modern indie edge. However, as with the album it stems from, ‘Tokay’ also finds Dengue Fever expanding their horizons, and bringing in more and more shiny trinkets from around the world like musical magpies. On top of that, there is a contemporary cool, and hints of synthesised soul, that brings the band further away from being mere revivalists, instead coming closer to considered alchemists.

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