As loose and hey look I am having an indie rock slumber party as Feist’s The Reminder is, it never sounds too reckless. In that respect, Thao Nguyen sounds more like St. Vincent, or maybe former tour mate Laura Veirs after a few drinks. Which is not to say the album’s sloppy – I’m sure the arrangements were meticulous – but it sure seems like Nguyen and her band are having a good time. Her widescreen production ranges from Broken Social Scene-like moments of controlled chaos (the colliding horns and electric guitars that conclude “Fear and Convenience”) to more traditional acoustic folk. But even at their quietest, the songs are always restless, always moving. Nguyen is a quirky, captivating vocalist; she has a bit of Chan Marshall‘s lonesome warble but also much of Nina Nastasia‘s self-assurance. I could keep name-dropping, but I’m sure you get the point: this is a hell of a debut album.
(We Brave Bee Stings and All is due 1/29 on Kill Rock Stars)
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