Thao and her Get Downs Stay Downs surprise us with
their fifth album, “We the Common”. Thao has always reminded me of the girl in
movies who smokes cigs and wants nothing to do with you. Based out of
California, Thao has revved up her credentials as a recording artist and has
proven she can be a powerful dynamic role model amongst the female musicians of
our alternative era. She started out her song writing in the Laundromat her
mother owned in Virginia.
Using the nonchalant tone of Cat Power, but the fluctuation
movements similar to Regina Spektor’s, Thao creates her own sound that is
unique and haunting. Throughout the entire album, she has spurts where it even
reminds me of Of Monsters and Men, everybody in chorus singing a happy catchy
refrain. On the first song, entitled We the Common, she allows the banjo to
collide with the guitar ever so softly. She sways back and forth with her eyes
closed, just experimenting within her vocal realms. Her voice brings you across
colorful phrases that flow right into each other. She wails at times to get you
excited, and manages to bring you back to a comfortable point of ease. The
thing I like best about Thao is her ability to sing so strongly; so clear and
so crisp. Her song Kindness Be Conceived features artist Joanna Newsome.
Joanna’s equally haunting voice compliments Thao’s so perfectly, it creates
this country sounding ballad that could satisfy anyone’s hankering for a great
ol’time summer song.
My favorite song on the album is entitled Holy Roller.
It starts out with music that seems almost reminiscent of the Asian culture,
the simplistic yet distinct plucking. Then, right as the refrain is coming, she
decrescendos into a millisecond of silence, and then immediately brings it back
with a crescendo of energy and liveliness.
It’s a roller-coaster with Thao, one filled with
beautiful poetry, chilling harmonies and full sounding, enthusiastic tunes.