April 1, 2016

LP: Tacocat - Lost Time

Tacocat gives the world the middle finger with a smile.

Lost Time, the exuberant new release from Seattle four-piece Tacocat, hits all the notes (oh yes) of Being A Lady Today while still finding time to wax poetic on The X-Files’ original run and the joys of swimming at night. Pairing the LP title with leading track “Dana Katherine Scully” would point to the band’s remarkable decision to release a concept album, but Lost Time isn’t quite that. Unless their concept was to write and record 12 insightful, incessantly creative jams about the modern gal’s life experiences online, on the street, at work, and in bed, in which case it IS a concept album and they totally nailed it.

On “Plan A, Plan B,” we hear about the unexpected delight of liking the guy you started chatting with at a show – liking him for the rest of the night, at least. “Throw me on your couch/I want to check you out,” lead vocalist Emily Nokes purrs over a revved-up bassline. Or maybe it’s “I wanna turn you out,” and it’s more of a drunken slur. It’s not entirely decipherable, but the mystery only adds to its charm. Equal parts shouty and sexy, it’s a far cry from NVM’s “Crimson Wave,” a catchy little ditty about being knocked on your ass by your period. And since the ideal casual fling does involve karaoke and does not involve accidental pregnancy, on “Plan A, Plan B,” they’re pleased to declare the solution to both. With “Talk,” Tacocat takes a decidedly more raw approach. Whereas a goofy song like “Horse Grrls” makes the listener dream of jumping around in a day-glo ball pit alongside the band members, “Talk” conjures up a different experience. The track allows Nokes’ cool strength to shine, and her approach to vocals here – atypical of most other songs on Lost Time – conveys an emotional urgency reminiscent of Cayetana’s Augusta Koch. “I wanna talk,” she pleads, “Until my throat hurts.” It’s brave and it’s beautiful.

Meanwhile, the misleadingly cheery “I Hate The Weekend” should sound familiar to those who regularly work weekends, for whom Friday-Saturday-Sunday is less the holy trinity and more the socio-cultural equivalent of Garbage Time in sports. The killer basslines, strong vocals, and rah-rah attitudes dominating Lost Time are reminiscent of the ‘90s sex-positive riot grrl movement, which also emerged from the Pacific Northwest. So it’s no accident. Plus, every song has a discernible meaning (hey, who doesn’t love Scully’s no-nonsense attitude?), and the arrangement of the tracks themselves is a not-so-subtle display of genius. Pairing the invigorating “I Love Seattle” with “I Hate The Weekend,” or “Talk” and the hilarious, yet powerful “Men Explain Things To Me” is the album layout equivalent of the Italian chef kiss gesture that we can’t quite figure out how to replicate in words. Tacocat are bold. They are confident. They are peppy, wacky, and the happy type of stoned where you draw pictures and make silly hats and eat candy all afternoon. They’re brighter than ever, and they’re “breaking up with you, actually.” On Lost Time, they give Internet commenters, boring dudes, and oppressive feelings/situations/illnesses/habits the finger with a smile. Had I been an even younger feminist and heard these sly celebrations of girlhood, the band’s musical, whimsical, fast-paced odes to the wild and weird, oh man, I would have started coloring my hair and regularly taking my Zoloft a lot earlier in life. I want to pop these tracks like I’m Fox Mulder and they’re a bag of sunflower seeds. The individual songs barely clock in beyond the length of a 1960s pop hit, and they’re perfect. Surfy, punk, indie, colorful, and just so fun, Lost Time is an album you’ll listen to over and over on rainy days and beach days alike.


Listen to Tacocat on bandcamp.

Sophy Ziss is a writer and feelings-haver based in Philadelphia. Tweet pets and music recommendations to @sophyish.