Album Reviews

Tacocat – Lost Time


On first impression,
Tacocat is a very unfortunate group. With their vaguely cutesy palindromic name and a clear sense of irreverence, they appear to be disciples of the worst kind of “lol, random” sensibility; the sort of Youtube videos and Tumblr posts that make you want to peel your skin off. On their most recent LP, Lost Time, the haphazard references to X-Files and REM don’t really do much to quell these concerns and, on initial examination, there is a sense that all they are is a flashy bit of fluff. While there is definite merit to that primary reading, particularly in terms of the music itself, there is actually a lot more going on than originally expected.

Oddly, it is the irreverent tone that is the most intriguing part of the album. The group is ardently feminist, which is a belief that, while not uncommon in the punk community, is often met with derision and unsolicited accusations of misandry. Funnily though, by wrapping up their message in a “Hello Kitty” blanket, it allows them to actually discuss intelligent and unique ideas while escaping the label of being po-faced. Take, for example, the album opener, ‘Dana Katherine Scully’, a song about the wonderful Gillian Anderson character that not only celebrates her as a person but also subtly commemorates one of genre fiction’s defining heroines; the skeptic who wants to believe but won’t be led by anyone but herself. There is also the fantastic ‘I Hate The Weekend’, a delightful diatribe against bro-tastic weekend boozing and the destruction it brings. The technicolour extravaganza ensures that the songs never feel like Valerie Solanas lectures.

Unlike early Pussy Riot or some of the more aggressive groups on Kill Rock Stars, the playful mood means that music is also able to be looser and lighter. While that does lead make a more pleasant listen, it enables the group, musically, to go on autopilot. A lot of the music here is very uninteresting. It’s standard four-chord punk music with little variance from a rigidly defined schema. You take any track here and draw a clear line straight back to most bands from Fat Wreck Chords, Lookout! or any of the other major punk labels in the early part of the nineties. At some points, things get richer as with ‘FDP’s’ central melody or the slinking lead bass on the excellent ‘Horse Grrls’. For the most part, though, it’s all very ordinary. As you move deeper into the second half, this superfluity of music becomes much worse; this is very much a front-loaded record. What’s strange too is that the album drags quite heavily at times and at less than half an hour in runtime, that really shouldn’t be the case. There is definitely some meat on the bones of these songs and to spoil it by accompanying it with lazy songwriting is a real grievance. Ultimately,  it’s simply a fine album and only just. Will Murphy