The Cambodian Space Project: Whiskey Cambodia – album review
The Cambodian Space Project – Whiskey Cambodia (Metal Postcard)
The Cambodian Space Project describe themselves as ‘COSMIC CROSS-CULTURE RENDEZVOUS FEATURING SPACE TRIPPERS FROM VARIOUS PLANETS PREPARING A MISSION TO BEAM ITS UNIQUE MIX OF SPACE ROCK, SURF, REGGAE, DUB, KHMER SURIN, CAMBODIAN ROCK PSYCHEDELICA OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD AND INTO ANOTHER…’ That said, they released thier third album earlier this year and Louder Than War’s Adrian Bloxham has been listening, read what he thinks below.
This is important. This means something. Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge took Cambodia back to year zero and in the process committed genocide on around two million Cambodian people. Culture, along with everything else was obliterated and destroyed.
The Cambodian Space project were formed when Julien Poulsen heard Srey Thy sing in a karaoke bar in Phnom Penh. He asked if she would form a band who have toured the world playing both covers of 60s Cambodian pop and their own psychedelic pop. But they are proudest of taking their music to the remote villages across Cambodia to take their culture back to the country it came from.
The music on this remarkable album sounds like Carnaby Street in the sixties, psychedelic, bright and very very catchy. Which is of course the point. This isn’t about being cool, about sounding left field or alternative; it’s about taking what people had and can remember and giving it back to them. It makes you smile and dance. It feels bright and sparkles.
Srey Thy’s voice is amazing, it takes what could have been another sixties throwback album in another direction completely. You can’t help but wiggle around and tap your feet from the moment you start to listen. The band play these songs with a pop sensibility and a sense of fun that pulls you in and makes you smile. ‘If you wish to love me’ and ‘Dance Twist’ especially get your hips moving.
But there is more here too. ‘If You Go I Go Too’ is plaintive and swooning. The track that captured me completely is the dark and low ‘Whiskey Cambodia’ which echoes the bleaker end of the sixties, the Doors in particular, fantastic.
An album to fall slowly in love with and enjoy watching other people realise how great it is too.
All words by Adrian Bloxham. His author archive can be found here.