The Cambodian Space Project - 2011: A Space Odyssey
By combining Cambodian pop and folk melodies with psychedelic pop, The Cambodian Space Project have already reached heights before this debut was released that most bands never reach. Apparently the band have made royal command performances, played before heads of state and are the King's favorite band. But how do they sound? Well, a spin of "2011: A Space Odyssey" will be a dizzying spin indeed, chock full of sweet and satisfying sounds, yet delivered with a nice bite. That most of the songs are covers is perhaps telling but for now beside the point. Whether the band flames out as a brief curiosity or moves deeper into this compelling mix of Khmer and Western pop is up to them; for now they offer fun and kitsch and straight on melodic righteousness.
From the dead-on sleazy glam of "Wait 10 Months More" or the cheeky cover of Shocking Blues' "Venus," (here recast as "Love God") the band, made up of Cambodian, French and Australian musicians, shows a complete understanding of both Western 60s pop and the classic Cambodian styles from the same period. Most of the covers are of songs by many stars of the time, such as Ros Sereysothea and Pan Ron, and they deliver them with a sense of fun and, most importantly, reverence. This is no exercise in hipper-than-thou irony, as one listen to the passionate sultry vocals of Srey Thy will prove.
This is a record in which each song will reach out and grab someone. For me, I'll take the jittery bite of "Have Visa No Have Rice" (written by Thy) and the surf-girl group swirl of "I'm Sixteen." Take a chance on The Cambodian Space Project! "2011: A Space Odyssey" will stick to your ribs and your synapse for weeks.
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