Seattle’s Tacocat have always shined brightest when bringing a certain level of absurdity to weighty political and social themes. Written in the shadow of 2016’s US elections, ‘This Mess Is A Place’ consequently has a wealth of material to feed off – and it doesn’t disappoint.
Such sentiments are perfectly expressed on the likes of ‘New World’, a biting three-minute pop gem that wishes for the creation of a new, fairer society. “I woke up today, and everything was better, put back together, rearranged," sings vocalist Emily Noakes – and it’s not hard to see the state of US politics to understand such desires. Throw in themes of gentrification and industrialisation; it’s an interesting parallel to fellow Washington band Death Cab For Cutie’s ‘Gold Rush’, a similarly prescient take on the changing face of Seattle.
Yet, just as Seattle is changing around them, Tacocat are opening the door to the next wave of bands emerging from the city. Now on the legendary Sub Pop label, their influence can be seen in the likes of Dude York and Great Grandpa – two similarly-minded up-and-coming acts who share Tacocat’s penchant for marrying indie aesthetic and pop sensibilities with whip-smart lyricism. Crucially, while ‘This Mess Is A Place’ may see the band making the label step up with ease, it’s also an affirmation that, while Seattle is a current hotbed for indie-punk bands, they remain peerless at the art.
Opener ‘Hologram’ looks at the illusion of power, but does so in a way that even the mighty Alvvays would swoon, while the likes of ‘The Joke of Life’, ‘Little Friend’ and the delightful ‘Meet Me at La Palma’ dial up the surf-pop charm to 11. Easy on the ear and endlessly engaging, they’re winning missives from a band that excels when delivering short and snappy, socially-conscious, pop-punk.