Matty Wise, apparently insulted at that last dig on Ninja Pants writers, made it a point to get his review of Thao Nguyen’s Like the Linen in on time. Yay Matt!

Thao NguyenLike the Linen (2006), Indie Rock, Trust Me Corporation

I’m sad.

I’m gonna miss it. The cloudless blue California skies, the rolling green Mounds, the red cups full of amber and foam, the inevitable gray billows that float above the countless red eyes as they gaze upon a sexy lady and her guitar. She will be performing in front of not just a small niche of black haired onlookers, but an array of different people all coming together with the common interest of listening to good music. Damn, I miss Pitzer College. Instead I’ll be at home in little New Jersey teaching swimming lessons. Indoors. In overbearing toxic smelling air. Thankfully Thao Nguyen has created a little gem in Like the Linen that will get me through these cold, bleak days.

Like the Linen was released in 2005, and while the review is a couple years coming, it is an album well worth the attention. Thao Nguyen’s compilation of ten songs is anything but complex, and this includes her lyrics. They tend to be rather romanticized, often talking about unrequited love, relationships, themes of that nature. But at the same time, though I usually cringe when I hear that sorta thing, Thao does it in such a playful way that I found them pretty entertaining. Often she takes the self deprecating route like City Sky’s “I fan your cigarette smoke / I wipe your mirrors clean / I am the asshole / Who falls for your routine” versus the painfully emotional end-of-the-world routine (though there’s nothing wrong with that when done right). And she has fun quips sprinkled throughout her songs like Moped’s “Take me to a scenic lake / I will skip your heart of stone”.

Thao Nguyen does not do anything special, and most of her songs simply are a guitar, bass, and drum playing background to her voice. The guitar is bouncy, upbeat, but not overwhelming, and it carries the songs through. But what really shines is Thao’s voice. She does not have a commanding presence like a Celine Deon or some American Idol wannabe (I don’t know why I used that reference since I don’t watch the show. I swear). Her voice is more satisfying; it is delicate, laid back, with a whimsical sort of nature. In a lot of songs she will occasionally shift into a falsetto airy coo that is pleasing to listen to. The album is very consistent in carrying a similar sound throughout all the songs without making them boring. There are a couple of “eh” sort of songs, but on the whole I thought this a pretty sweet album. If you’re like one of the many who will not be at Pitzer College, this is a great substitute to enjoy on those sunny or not so sunny days, with or without glazed red eyes, while lying on grass or on your bed.

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