Los Angeles-based Cambodian pop band Dengue Fever—inspired by the sixties pop from the country (which was originally inspired by American pop of the era)—returns with its third full-length record, titled “Venus on Earth,” another benchmark in the band’s career, which includes being the first Western band to tour Cambodia since Pol Pot. Breathy, alluring singer Chhom Nimol sings in both Khmer and English (the Khmer still works better) and the swingin’ psychedelia makes you want to sip a martini—think James Bond in a ballroom in a foreign country. Even the ballads, atmospheric and weathered, work well—“Monsoon of Perfume,” slotted between lighter fare, doesn’t slow the record down, but smoothes the road for it to move with a convincing swiftness. Nothing against Nimol’s skill, but the instrumental, danceable, full-of-personality “Oceans of Venus” could be the album’s best track—that damn farfisa will get you every time. Live, the band’s a tornado. (Tom Lynch)
Dengue Fever plays February 27 at Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western, (773)376-3600, at 9pm. $12.