At first blush the title of the Thao with the Get Down Stay Down album We Brave Bee Stings and All might strike you as ironic and clever or impossibly twee, but, like, have you ever SEEN the movie My Girl? I cried like a bitch in that movie. I cried like a bitch for twenty minutes after the credits ended. FYI: I happen to be a really tough broad. I don't even cry when I lose at scrabble, if only because that never happens.
The point is, bee stings are serious business and so is Thao Nguyen. When she sings the words, "I have seen fear and convenience, I have never glimpsed romance" or when she repeats the refrain from the same song (fear and convenience) "did he hurt you in a new way?" the sweetness of her delivery belies the sadness/wistfulness that lingers even in more ostensibly upbeat numbers and mingles with wry humor in songs such as "Bag of Hammers" and "Swimming Pools". Speaking of "Swimming Pools":
See what I mean?
The album closes with a sweet cover of Smokey Robinson's "You've Really Got a Hold On Me". Homegirl has a sexy voice and she's not afraid to use it. And when that song ends and you release your kitty from your deathgrip slowdance of eternal love (when I say "you" I'm talking about "me"), the cd will turn around and reward you with another listen to "Beat (Health, Life and Fire)", another stand out track.
To sum up: sweet indie pop, slight country influence but nothing annoying, lyrics that are both witty and heartfelt, a refreshing summer treat "like a lick of ice cream".