After 2016’s A Man Alive release Thao Nguyen lost interest in her music and the group as she struggled with multiple life issues. The good news is that she has returned with the groups fifth album Temple and it probably represents one of the most personal albums of her career.
The other good news is that Thao & The Get Down Stay Down are one of those artist that just have a sound. When you hear a track, you know that it is them. Temple is no different right from the opening title track as a groovy western surf guitar riff kicks things off before Nguyen’s instantly recognizable vocals are launched. Temple is also full of emotion and if you are familiar with Thao, you know she has a great range and no problem letting it loose with different vocal moves.
What is different on Temple is that this record is the first to be self-produced. This gives the album a much looser vibe as songs come at you from a more disjointed and free form base than previous albums. Overall, this laid back approach works for many of the tracks because Temple still delivers a swirling mix of indie rock, dance grooves and hip-hop hooks that are all very classic sounding Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Where the record stumbles a bit is that more freedom also leads some tracks down a road where they struggle to connect the art and music.
Key Tracks: “Temple” / “How Could I” / “Phenom”
Artists With Similar Fire: Mitski / tUnE-yArDs / Waxahatchee
– Reviewed by Thomas Wilde