Album Review: Tacocat – Lost Time

Lost Time

tacocat-lost-timeReleased April 1st 2016

Words: Gary Feeney

Yep, this is missing from the very start “If you happened to be browsing through the shelves of your favourite record shop in search of a dose of female-fronted, grunge-flecked guitar pop and came across Tacocat’s third album Lost Time, you could be forgiven for skipping past it: with a sleeve festooned with brightly-colour cartoon cats couple with a name that sounds vaguely like a children’s TV character, it’d be east to get the wrong idea about this San Francisco four-piece. Perhaps, then, the old adage about judging books by their covers should be extended to include albums too.

Opening with Dana Katherine Scully, scuzzy, spiky guitars and drawling vocals from lead singer (and lead tambourine-ist too, apparently) Emily Noakes on the verses give way to a powerful chorus built around the line “the truth is out there”, the track is a perfect scene-setter in terms of musical stylings and general vibe. There’s a grungy edge to the music with poppy overtones and with two X-Files references (and another in the album title (apparently…)) included, you get your first sense of the playfulness that’s laced through Tacocat’s music – at this point the cover artwork doesn’t seem so incongruous!

This sense of fun is also audible on tracks like Horse Grrls and Night Swimming. The former takes a sarcastic swipe at high-school rich-kids dressed up in an irresistible, power-pop package, like a souped-up Courtney Barnett; the latter, meantime, borrows from the band’s West Coast surf-pop heritage whilst injecting their own brand of energy and witty lyrics such as “You can bring your boombox, but you can’t play R.E.M.” (a nod to that band’s track of the same name, for readers of a younger vintage…).

If there’s a fun side to Tacocat, then there’s also a distinctly more assertive one which makes Lost Time an all the more engaging affair, constantly drifting between both elements as it does (often at the same time). FDP is the most obvious example of this with a chorus of “Don’t fuck with me”, whilst I Hate The Weekend takes aim at weekend bingers and their propensity for overrunning the band’s neighbourhood.

The band describe themselves as a feminist outfit “making art about experiences in which gender is both foreground and neutralised” and there’s plenty of hints to this throughout the album, most obviously on Men Explain Things To Me (the clue is in the title) but perhaps most wittily in You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit. This latter is a rather delightful, two fingers up, female break-up song featuring lines such as “you’re a mess and I’m amazing” within one of the album’s strongest tracks.

If pressed to pick a favourite track, I’d probably go for Talk which is maybe the album’s most introspective moment and provides a nice respite from the up-beat nature elsewhere; it is also a great showcase of the depth of Tacocat’s ability as songwriters. Lost Time, however, is a record you find it hard to pick a favourite track from; it’s the type of album which works as a collection of good individual songs, rather than having to be listened to as a complete piece to get the best from each track.

Whilst their previous two albums haven’t made much of an impact this side of the Atlantic (and in fairness, they haven’t thrown the kitchen sink at it), the success of other female-fronted acts such as Honeyblood (who have quite a similar sound) and the aforementioned Courtney Barnett to name just two coupled the quality of the songs on offer suggest that Tacocat may find that they are releasing Lost Time at the perfect moment for the UK market. Packed from start to finish with instantly accessible tunes that manage to be socially aware and fun at the same time, there’s plenty to love about Lost Time and plenty to suggest that Tacocat have all the necessary ingredients to make their presence felt with this upcoming release.

Watch the video for I Hate The Weekend, from Lost Time, here:

One Response to “Album Review: Tacocat – Lost Time”
  1. garyfeeney says:

    Reblogged this on General Smuts.


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