The opening track, and recent single, ‘Hologram’ sets the tone for This Mess Is A Place. I hesitate to call Tacocat’s sound “pop punk” because of the baggage that tag carries with it. They are far removed from the shrill, over-produced, homogenised, production line mentality one associates with that genre but they are nonetheless a pop band who play with a punk approach. The palm-muted power chords, heavy choruses and three part harmonies all suggest pop punk without becoming it. They blend indie singer-songwriter lyrics and melodies with power pop choruses, and play grungy guitars under it all.
The grunge label is one that fits This Mess Is A Place much more comfortably. It helps that it’s being released on Seattle’s Sub Pop label too. With the variety of styles and multiple songwriters, the record sounds like a mixtape of ‘90s alternative rock with Weezer songs followed by The Breeders, and The Raincoats next to Veruca Salt. Throw in Nirvana, Hole and The Vaselines et voila, you’ve got the new Tacocat LP.
Tacocat tread new ground on each track. Working within the confines of a basic rock guitar/bass/drums setup, they throw in some light funk a la Tom Tom Club on ‘Grains Of Salt’ to great effect. The Infectious chorus and sweet groove make if feel like Led Zeppelin’s ‘D’yer Maker’. Elsewhere we get some Ronnie Spector style vocals on current single, ‘The Joke Of Life’, over a Ramones guitar riff; very End Of The Century. The twin guitars work in counterpoint, lifting the chorus of ‘Rose Colored Sky’ to euphoric heights and ‘Crystal Ball’ is another classic pop tune, with Tacocat channelling the Buckingham/Nicks era Fleetwood Mac,but the punk roots that underlie This Mess Is A Place come to the fore on ‘Phantom’.
Finishing off the LP, ‘Miles and Miles’, shouldn’t work. Slow ballads and distortion pedals go together as well as yesterday’s fish pie and the office microwave but somehow they manage, just about, to pull it off. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it sounds so much like Weezer’s blue album opener ‘My Name Is Jonah’. I reached for the skip button during the first listen but ‘Miles and Miles’ endures. As a closing track it works, aided by the identifiable chorus, “The days dragged, but the years have flown by”
This Mess Is A Place is a sunny collection of tunes and arrives at the first weekend in May. The timing could hardly be better. This is best listened to while walking down sunny city streets or lazing in the garden. Or by the pool, if you are so inclined. There isn’t a bad song on here. I have now listened to this record ten times in a row without skipping a track. That is the best recommendation I could give any album.
You can pre-order This Mess Is A Place here