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There are many records that will be released this year that are better than Whiskey Cambodia, but there will be none that will be even remotely similar to it.
The Cambodian Space Project are a curious act who are intertwined with this tragedy. Vocalist Srey Thyâ€™s parents survived the wave of murders and, as part of a wave of relative optimism following the Vietnamese overthrow, she was born to a family from which she inherited a love of music and knowledge of the pre-Khmer era of Cambodian pop. Combining psychedelic rock and Motown, presumably a result of the American occupation of Vietnam and Cambodia, this music hearkens back to an era untroubled by Pol-Potâ€™s destruction; a rare insight into a unique golden age that the west is largely ignorant of.
Discovered singing solo in a bar by Tasmanian musician Julien Poulsen, Shrey Thy is joined here as The Cambodian Space Project by a host of Motown musicians; it is in this combination that the record finds its success. It is a potent mix: a classic Detroit sound with Cambodian vocals that are at once jarring and infectious.