by Michael Wylie-Harris, first published in LondonTourdates #013 ,11th January 2008
In a month synonymous with post-New Year mental fear, suicidal depression and general, unrelenting skint-ness, this release comes as a welcome ray of sunshine into our otherwise barren lives.
Virginian born singer/songwriter Thao’s lush blend of country pop is warm relief from the angular world of jagged post-punk and spiky electro that we have come to begrudgingly inhabit.
Her second album (the first was only released in the US) is a whimsical joy. Like a playful wonder through a Californian corn-field with Beth Orton, it’s the perfect antidote to self-harming in early 2008. Not all sweetness and light though, Thao’s soft vocals are at times pained and the lyrics are profound throughout and scathing in places.
Debut single, ‘Bag Of Hammers’, is about coping with personal demons – “everybody has their bag of hammers” – while other tracks deal with broken relationships, life revelations and admissions of guilt.Cheeky yet vulnerable, happy and sad… We Brave Bee Stings And All is touching throughout.