Ridiculous Punk Rock Fun
To be honest, it’s hard not to have a good time while listening to Tacocat. The Seattle quartet seem to have a knack for punk-pop anthems, a skill they’ve certainly perfected over their seven years as a band. This talent comes through strong on NVM, their most recent release, having crafted a sound that is both instrumentally sound and lyrically interesting.
Musically, Tacocat has covered the basics of any essential punk-pop group; the band’s classic set-up in quartet form, accompanied by the exciting/angry vocals of frontwoman Emily Nokes, is nothing to underrate. If anything, this is the aspect of the band that could be more interesting or varied, but is not by any means average. It’s the additions one doesn’t normally encounter in punk (occasional gang vocals, trumpet) that add a nuance and keep the album more interesting. These nuances, coupled with the catchy nature of the tunes in general, give the album an enjoyable momentum, despite the constant breaks in between the two- and three-minute songs.
Regardless of the catchy instrumentation, Nokes’s lyrics add an air of ridiculous fun that isn’t present in most punk bands one normally thinks of. Lyrically, NVM bounces from feminism (“Hey Girl”) to the unexpected (“Crimson Wave” is a song about periods) to the absurd. One standout in that last category is “Psychedelic Quincinera,” a song about a young Hispanic girl skipping school and doing acid.
It’s this mix that makes NVM so much more enjoyable than most punk albums released these days. Tacocat walks this thin line between total seriousness and endless good vibes, achieving both but not being one or the other. It’s a fantastic combination that will undoubtedly endure through 2014 as one of the year’s best punk albums. And with the achievement of this new appeal and reach as a band, one can only expect more ridiculously fun punk anthems from Tacocat in the near future.