New Music Review: Thao & Mirah; Self-Titled (LISTEN)
Thao and Mirah’s self-titled album is going to change your preconceptions about collaborative albums between two singer/songwriters. Even longtime fans of Thao and the Get Down Stay Down and Mirah will be taken aback by the palpable chemistry between the artists, especially on “Sugar and Plastic.” It should come as no surprise then that Nguyen and Zeitlyn have been rumored to be dating. Zeitlyn is an out lesbian, and Nguyen has hinted at the fact that she isn’t entirely straight either. (When asked about the relationship, Zeitlyn said that she had no comment, which usually means they are totally dating.) Thao & Mirah gives fans the ethereal vocals they have come to expect of each artist, plus harmonies so sweet you’ll wonder why these two didn’t pair up earlier.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a twee or girly album. Thao & Mirah defies the singer/songwriter genre on even the tamest songs, like “Little Cup,” and “Spaced Out Orbit.” Backed with a mélange of percussion instruments including bottles, jars, spoons, hand claps, and knee slaps, Zeitlyn’s usually airy delivery is perfectly complimented by Nguyen’s chaotically deliberate guitar.
“Eleven,” is one of the best collaborative tracks on the album written by and featuring Merrill Garbus from tUnE-yaRds. With its marimba backbeats and stilted rhythms, “Eleven” could easily become the new indie dance anthem of the summer. The simple chorus, “When love is love/don’t let it go away/ my love is love/ it won’t go away,” is just itching to be remixed and blasted from rooftop barbeques in Brooklyn.
Thao & Mirah is split between standout collaborations and songs that sound like they could be pulled from one of the artists’ solo discographies. “How Dare You,” a proper duet written by Nguyen, showcases both of the artists strengths, but is still very reminiscent of Nguyen’s work with The Get Down Stay Down. “Hallelujah,” Zeitlyn’s obvious contribution, is beautiful and sweet, but does not seem to fit in with the more upbeat nature of the album as a whole.
Overall, Thao & Mirah feels a little haphazardly arranged, but that doesn’t mean that the individual songs are weak. “Eleven” and “How Dare You” stand out as a testament to Nguyen and Zeitlyn’s incredible chemistry, and “Teeth” to Nguyen’s unique rhythmic arrangements and personal style. In the end, they are Zeitlyn’s songs that fall flat on this collaboration, but she has simply been upstaged by the passion and vigor that are so much a part of Nguyen’s persona.
LISTEN: Thao & Mirah; “Eleven”
More Faster Music Reviews:
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-Hollywood Undead; American Nightmare
-Wiz Khalifa; Rolling Papers
-Britney Spears; Femme Fatale
-Chris Brown; F.A.M.E.
-Panic! At the Disco; Vices & Virtues
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- Travis Barker; Give the Drummer Some
-Lupe Fiasco; Lasers/Avril Lavigne; Goodbye Lullaby
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