Kimya Dawson

Singer-Songwriters
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Editorial Review

KIMYA DAWSON
Album review: "Thunder Thighs"

Kimya Dawson's new album, "Thunder Thighs," is full of the lo-fi, homemade sound she embraced when her anti-folk duo, the Moldy Peaches, went on hiatus in 2004 and she went solo.

"Thunder Thighs" is not purely a solo album - Dawson is joined by rapper Aesop Rock, John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats, several choirs and her own 5-year-old daughter, Panda. Still, Dawson makes herself the center of attention. Nearly every song is a first-person narrative, whether about getting around on a bicycle ("I Like My Bike") or learning to play the guitar while pregnant ("All I Could Do").

All that self-indulgence is a bit much. An ode to a pregnancy test ("You're In") and a nearly seven-minute ramble about embracing our differences ("Same [expletive] / Complicated") feel like tedious diary entries. The kid-accompanied jingle, "Mare and the Bear," would have been a better fit on Dawson's 2008 children's album, and the pun-full rap "The Library" is shrill and grating.

Dawson, who was featured on the "Juno" soundtrack, at times conveys a unique experience - on "Walk Like Thunder," she reminisces about her nearly fatal overdose and the death of a transgender friend. The song works better than most, capturing her vulnerable, melancholy side, but its 10-minute length makes it hard to listen to more than once.

--Catherine P. Lewis, Nov. 11, 2011