Tacocat – NVM
As its cover art implies, Tacocat’s first full-length on Sub-Pop subsidiary Hardly Art is colorful, fun, and filled with various yummy flavors.
Whoever from the Seattle-based band or its label picked “Bridge to Hawaii” and “Crimson Wave” as the pre-release digital singles selected the two catchiest tracks on the album. The latter is a surf-inspired number that has gotten some press due to its lighthearted take on PMS. Sure, the repetitious line about “Communists in the summer house” is absurd. But seeing that this band’s name is a nonsensical palindrome, they likely have little interest in taking themselves seriously.
Though those two digital singles are the best songs, they are not the only keepers in this baker’s dozen. Singer Emily Nokes’ poking fun of idealistic and unemployed punks on “This is Anarchy,” with lyrics like “Just can’t face the daily grind, finally found something I can get behind,” contains the type of tongue-in-cheek social commentary usually reserved for online comic strips. Another keeper is the surprise curveball, “Alien Girl,” featuring guitarist Eric Randall on lead vocals. It’s the type of cartoonish take on ’50s rock that would not have sounded out of place had Johnny Depp sung it in John Waters’ Cry-Baby.
The rest of the album culls from a mixed bag of influences. While some bands use fuzz pedals or copy Dinosaur Jr. to get that “’90s” label, Tacocat glean from the childish, rah-rah feel of Bratmobile (“Hey Girl”), and even bust out some ska riffs on “F.U. #8.” The most out-of-left-field moment, though, is when “Psychedelic Quinceanera” starts sounding like The Damned’s occasional use of Spanish guitar during their ill-fated MCA years.
While some young acts more or less get up on stage for a performance art presentation or pizza party because they are not clever or talented enough to do much else, Tacocat are a legitimately awesome band that happens to be funny, and they’re not ashamed to let us in on the joke.