Thao with the Get Down Stay Down 

We Brave Bee Stings and All

The second album by Thao With the Get Down Stay Down is a stimulating study in contrasts. The music is well-crafted folk-rock/pop, with direct, alternately perky 'n' pensive melodies borne by shimmering guitars, tickling keys, snapping drums, wryly theatrical, New Orleans-tinged horns, and ringing percussion. If not for the slightly austere production, Stings could be the work of the Lovin' Spoonful or Can't Buy a Thrill-era Steely Dan. Thao Nguyen sings in an even-tempered, relaxed, somewhat bemused-sounding, plainspoken voice with slightly clipped phrasing — imagine a cross between Rickie Lee Jones and Beth Orton, or a down-home version of the Raincoats. Nguyen's lyrics, however, belie their relatively sanguine settings — the cheery chorus for "Fear and Convenience" goes Did he hurt you/in a new way? Woody Guthrie would've probably approved of the audacious appeal for respect that is "Swimming Pools": You've gotta push all the doubt to the side of your mouth/'cause we brave bee stings and all/we don't dive, we cannonball/and we splash our eyes full of chemicals/just so there's none left for little girls. Her best-laid plans are tailored for disaster: I built a light tower for my town pillar/low flying aircraft are gonna kill her. (Jeez.) Seldom have such thorny lyrics been delivered in such an engaging, cozy context as Bee Stings and All.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in CD Reviews

Author Archives

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

The Beer Issue 2020

The Decade in Review

The events and trends that shaped the Teens.

Best of the East Bay


© 2020 Telegraph Media    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation