Thao & the Get Down Stay Down We Brave Bee Stings And All

How charming. How lovely. It seems a way with a winning melody is becoming the territory of the young, as Thao Nguyen (just 23) has created a great pop album with the simplest of ingredients. Bringing deceptively innocent lyrics — "We Don’t Dive/We Cannonball” — and a bright vocal turn to her band’s folk-pop instrumentation, Thao creates an album that easily makes you smile and sway from side to side. Take killer radio-ready single "Swimming Pools,” which, through its super-fast two minutes, creates memorable hooks and a chorus you’ll be singing for days on end. Just as charming with its jangle feel is "Bag of Hammers,” which will have you rising out of your seat to her cries of "Shake, shake, shake the frame of this house/distress the wood, make it shout.” It’s not all happy-happy stuff here, as Thao gets nicely sparse on "Violet,” but even then she wraps her songs effortlessly in big, memorable melodies. For those looking for serious songwriting, this may leave you wanting, but for those who want to bop around, be entertained and leave the house smiling, you shan’t go any further. (Kill Rock Stars)