Rarely does a band draw from such disparate influences as Los Angeles-based Dengue Fever, fronted by Cambodian vocalist Chhom Nimol. On its fifth record, the group creates a rich, fully realized work. Informed by Cambodian pop, girl group, surf twang, Afro-polyrhythms, jazz, noir, and LA rock, the songs are intricately arranged and executed with subtlety and rigor. The transporting Nimol sings in Khmer so the meaning of the songs, infused with insinuating guitars and expressive horns, is derived by whatever you bring to them. “Deepest Lake on the Planet” has a sensual allure, and a few tracks — especially “The Golden Flute,” featuring a circling guitar riff — achieve a special beauty. “Rom Say Sok,” with vocals from Nimol and Zac Holtzman (in English) evoking X’s John Doe and Exene, is as straightforward rock as Dengue Fever gets. Only the overly ambitious “No Sudden Moves” misses the mark on this entrancing disc. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Rom Say Sok”
Ken Capobianco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.