‘Feminist pop punk’ is a phrase rarely spoken in the world of alternative subgenres. However, this movement has quite the following and membership, such as L7 and Calamity Jane to name a few.
Adding to the growing list is Seattle four piece Tacocat. Loaded with riot grrrl grit and taking no prisoners, they exude the delicious oxymoron of laidback enthusiasm on their third full length release, Lost Time.
Weaving playful youthfulness and pissed off venting, lead singer Emily Nokes’ silky gravelly voice is permanently front and center, and the entire band complement each other exquisitely.
Opener ‘Dana Katherine Scully’ is slightly tongue in cheek with dusty guitars, and is a fitting tribute to one of the most iconic female television characters of the 90s: a lady with “shoulder pads” and a “no nonsense attitude …She’s the only one thinking it through.”
Amongst the humor are darker moments, crashing drum beats and anti-establishment chanting akin to the 70s punk movement. Lost Time is devoid of grey areas, too – Nokes purely sings of what she loves and what she despises.
This is illustrated by the subsequent tunes. ‘I Love Seattle’ has a body thrashing beat and infectious enthusiasm, as the group proudly declare: “There’s still no place I’d rather be.”
In the next breath are ‘I Hate The Weekend’ and the very words many have only dreamed of uttering: ‘You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit.’ Nokes sings of maintaining control in a failing relationship, and asserting the role of dumper before becoming the dumped. ‘The Internet’ is a gigantic middle finger to keyboard heroes for their online trolling “vitriol” and saying “nothing of value.”
There are whispers of early Blondie work, somewhat smoky vocals and a strong don’t-mess-with-me attitude. ‘Horse Grrls’ has rapid frequent tempo changes signaled by tapping drumsticks. There are ascending guitar chords building to impossible levels, and catchy riffs with down to earth track concepts about enjoying the simple life.
A definite standout is ‘Men Explain Things To Me,’ which is a huge indictment on both misogyny and female condescension: “Tell me to calm down / Tell me to calm down again” and “Don’t tell me what to do / My feelings won’t subdue / Just because you told them to.” It is with a commendable air of defiance that the song ends: “The turning point is overdue.”
Closing track ‘Leisure Bees’ is also a highlight and a nice way to wrap up the four friends jamming and having a ball. The final message is to not take life so seriously and not work yourself into the ground.
Tacocat’s Lost Time will keep your fists pumping in the air through to the very end.
They have perfectly blended their zest for life and the importance of the sobering societal issues that they hold dear. Overall, the songs are simple with standard riffs and tidy percussion, but the heartfelt passion and charisma are palpable.
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