Tacocat – This Mess is a Place (Sub Pop)
The Seattle four piece release their fourth studio album, a joyous power pop collection of instantly accessible tunes, with a humorous socially conscious slant. Aiming a swift kick in the balls to power & toxic masculinity and the mess this place is in, much of the album is influenced in no small way by the election of a certain PUSA to the White House.
This is Tacocat’s first release on Sub Pop, what a way to announce their arrival on their new label. The effervescent nature of the tunes makes them immediate and appealing, Emily Nokes, Eric Randall, Bree McKenna & Lelah Maupin blending their wealth of influences to create a wonderfully upbeat and positive racket.
Despite the source and nature of the subjects across some of the songs, there are enough tongue-in-cheek references and barbed quips, like “What a time to be barely alive” on Crystal Ball, to know that while they are angered and full of ire about the state of the world they sing about, they are having a blast creating it too.
Counteracting the daily news reports revealing stories every day that take the world back decades and the bleak outlook across many parts of the world, Tacocat’s music gives you hope that not everything in the future looks dismal. The band juxtapose a variety of themes throughout, one-minute despairing at the mess we are making of the planet in The Joke of Life the next celebrating the hope and joy brought by our pets in Little Friend.
Hologram opens the album in immense style with a Crimson & Clover meets Sweet Jane type melody and a lyric that seemingly rails about turning the power held by egotistical and authoritative men on its head. This leads nicely into the pop-tastic optimistic ode to a hope for a brighter future and a better place to live that is New World.
Single Grains of Salt screams at you to be yourself, do what you wanna do. Time is short, live your life and forget about what anyone else thinks, “Don’t forget to remember who the fuck you are!”
Throughout the album various musical influences come to the fore. At its core, The Problem channels the irresistible pop sensibilities of punk bands like Buzzcocks, Ramones & The Undertones. Elsewhere, divine melodic vocals mixed with beguiling fuzzy guitars combine the 1960s with the alternative 80s/90s feisty guitar and harmonies of Go-Gos, The Bangles and The Darling Buds.
Power and privilege are explored on the vibrant Rose Colored Sky highlighting the differences between the haves and have-nots, those who have lived without knowing anything about hardship. While Meet Me at La Palma is a bouncy introspective romp through a relationship that continues to display the bands ability to paint vivid scenes, “pictures of palm trees where palm trees never grow”.
Charming and addictive without being saccharine sweet, maintaining an edge and an ability to be cutting without being too po-faced. A sweet ride.