(This review first appeared in issue #67 of Shindig! magazine.)
Both Tuk Tuk CD
Having secured rights to their back catalogue the Los Angeles-based band begin a reissue campaign with deluxe versions of their first two albums. Bolstered with remixes and live tracks, they're a reminder of what a spirited force the band can be.
Originally released in 2003, their eponymous debut was unique - western rock musicians paying tribute to the lost sounds of '60s and '70s Cambodian pop. Their mix of western and Khmer rock gained authenticity thanks to the vocals of Chhom Nimol, who'd served her apprecticeship singing in Cambodian restaurants in the Little Phnon Penh neighbourhood of Long Beach.
The 2005 follow-up Escape From Dragon House saw the band expand rhythmically and texturally, and includes more self-penned songs and vocal contributions from other band members. Of particular interest among the extra tracks is 'Sni Ha', a Cambodian language version of Sonny Bono's 'Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).'