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Listen Cloze, Now: 'Tiger Phone Card' by Dengue Fever

"I call you from my hotel room
I'm sitting on the hallway floor
I know that we are so, so so
So tired; my phone card just expired

The 60s (slink, sincerity, & sass) never died, they just went elsewhere.


"Tiger Phone Card" is fractal, like all great songs: the story of pop, entire in popsong format. Each part's individually generic (from Zac Holtzmann's weak Belle&Seb vocal, to the funk-surf backing, and even Chhom Nimol's beguiling Asian cabaret), but it reaches much farther, manages much more. It has the contagious hope all worthwhile invention does.

They play with light psychedelia and light exoticism, but don't allow either to override the point - which is, as usual, an American's desire for a hook. Which hook comes at 0:35, 1:24, and 2:29, and good god isn't she lovely.

The narrative's just an absent international love, rendered alternately with pragmatism and soaring sentimentality. I've actually spied continuity - the same couple - throughout Venus On Earth, their third album, so let's have a crack at that, oh let's.

That sixteen-second guitar solo is bloody perfect, skirting simplicity and a giving a gurn the slip. The Stranglers organ gives it the brute force of an ad jingle, too.