In terms of structure, the band has definitely progressed from the last album. Thao's song style has definitely gotten more experimental since We Brave... The syncopated rhythmic patterns that made her songs on WBBSL so darn enjoyable are still present in some tracks on KBLF like "When We Swam," but a certain characteristic cuteness is absent on this one. This is a break-up record. And as sweetly euphonious as Nguyen's voice is, it can't hide the fact that these songs are super bitter. Leaving behind themes of childhood mirth and nostalgia, KBLF is about sex, being used, sex, and being scorned.
“The record is primarily a response to the end of a relationship, so a lot of it is pretty reactionary. It’s trying to be introspective, but there’s always got to be a little “fuck you” in there – or, sometimes there’s a lot.Yowza! I love it. She's scorned and sexy and not just this demure little Vietnamese-American chick with an acoustic guitar anymore. She's gonna make it in this "man's world," ya know? Are you getting that vibe from her, too??
The album is named ‘Know Better Learn Faster’ because you can’t. By the time you realize you should, it’s too late. And I enjoy the predicament and the totally devastating, unfunny humor of that.” - Thao (interview via I Am Fuel You Are Friends)
But despite Thao's newly indurated heart and the group's ostensible progression and maturation as musicians on Know Better Learn Faster, it's just missing something that flowed in abundance out of We Brave...
Download the title track "Know Better Learn Faster" via MBV. Or... the whole album here.