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Sothear, Srei and Sisamouth, Sin – “Cambodian Psych-Out ” – [Defective Records]

Cambodian Rocks and the stellar Cambodian Cassete Archives on Sublime
Frequencies (the mighty Mark Gergis gets a nod here) already have shown
KFJC the magic and tragic sides of this amazing sub-genre. As on those
releases, the American covers “Venus” and “Wooly Bully” should be your
*last* stops on this time travel. The lead-in to the first track, with
its airport-terminal-white-courtesy-phone spoken interchange is a good
place to check your emotional luggage. “If You Wish to Love Me Don’t
Laugh or Cry” is a must-stop, and a tad familiar, with Sothear’s voice
sounding like she’s got effects in her throat, and Sin’s bubbles of
laughter in the background and manly handling the choruses for her. I
don’t know what they’re singing, but I don’t know how the hell it could
have warranted them being killed by the Khmer Rouge. Indeed that title
alone makes the most romantic sense I’ve ever heard. Looking at the
lps with handsome headshots of Sin and Srei (Ros?) marred by holes for
the turntable kind of freak me out as if those are the bullet wounds
of their execution. Anyways, no need to be morbid, these songs are as
alive as ever. On the B-side, “As Young Woman Wanted, Now 31 Years
Old Not So Good” (amazing titles, no?) the secret of Sothear’s voice
is most evident, she sounds like a human wah-wah pedal. Remarkable
singing…so fantastic. Another key is the Cambodian embracement and
elevation of the electric keyboard, they just mic it up right. The
liner notes offer multiple spellings of both singers’ names, maybe
adding to their mythic quality, or somehow hoping a name was changed,
and somehow they survived as well as these songs.

-Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on January 4, 2007 at 1:22 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,International
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