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Josh T. Landow

CD of The Week

Week of 5/06/19

    Tacocat - This Mess Is A Place (Sub Pop)

    Tacocat made their palindromic name on a winning mix of youthful energy, guitar hooks, a sense of humor and feminist stances. All these elements aligned perfectly on 2016's Lost Time. For their fourth record, This Mess Is A Place, the Seattle band has polished their sound while retaining their catchy songwriting skills.

    Plenty of jaunty riffs and power pop elements abound on This Mess Is A Place, with the quiet-loud-quiet guitars of "Little Friend" coming straight out of the '90s college rock playbook. "Hologram," a take on the dynamics of power, sounds like it could easily be in Liz Phair's catalog. "Crystal Ball" channels those pop-punk pioneers themselves, the Ramones. The best musical moment on the album might be "The Joke of Life," melding '60s girl group backing vocals with surf rock vibes.

    In these dark times, singer Emily Nokes aims for the power of positivity on tracks like the hopeful "New World," where she dreams of creating a "New world, new planet / Better than the one we left behind / Take the best parts and build a new start / Leave the rest in their old spine."

    "Grains of Salt" is an empowering pep talk about blocking out your critics and a call to "don't forget to remember who the f*** you are!" "Meet Me at La Palma" is where Tacocat's sense of humor shines, with a snarky depiction of a tacky restaurant where you'll find "Seven dollar margaritas that are bigger than your head" and "Pictures of palm trees where no palm tree's ever grown."

    This Mess Is A Place is certainly more mature than their previous albums, but not in the clich├ęd "acoustic guitars and sad songs" way. The production is cleaned up a bit and there's nothing as jokey as "Horse Girls" on this album, but that doesn't mean it isn't a blast from start to finish.

    Tacocat returns to Philadelphia on May 18th at Boot & Saddle.

    **Donate $20 or more to Y-Not Radio to receive a copy of This Mess Is A Place. Click here for details.
    Review by Joey O.

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