Sound Affects — Review: TacocaT’s ‘NVM’
Many have heard the old saying “you are what you eat.”
On the cover of TacocaT’s second full-length album “NVM,” we get some visual food for thought – a colorful collection of bubblegum balls clueing listeners in for what’s in store once they click play: a mouthful of catchy tracks sweetened with sugary vocals swirled with sticky punk riffs.
With “NVM,” there are plenty of ballads to chew on as you embark on your travels or for when you’re just hanging back at home, lying facedown on the bed.
But not every track on the album leaves a sweet aftertaste; while the bouncy choruses and cheery beats reign in every song, TacocaT also sprinkles in some controversial topics that’ll be hard to swallow for the prude or the misogynist.
Hailing from Seattle, Wash., one of two notorious birthplaces of the ’90s Riot Grrrl movement in Washington, TacocaT’s overall image and content channels its “riotgrrrl” roots, yet incorporates a free-spirited nonchalantness, a refreshing ingredient to the sound.
Their sugary sounding demeanor doesn’t sour their message or politics; just ask fellow Washingtonian, iconic feminist and lead singer of pioneer riot grrrl band Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna.
On her blog, Hanna gave TacocaT props and a shout out: “Thanks for making my morning a little sunnier TacocaT!!!”
Furthermore, Hanna applauds TacocaT’s bassist Bree McKenna on her article “Sexist Queers,” which was published in The Stranger, Seattle’s free, weekly alternative newspaper.
In it, she tackles an issue still present in a male-dominated music scene: Because TacocaT’s female members outnumber the male members three to one, they get branded as “pretty good for a girl band.”
The ninth track, “Hey Girl,” dives into the issue of catcalling.
In the song, our female protagonist can’t walk down the street without catching the undressing eyes of nearby sweaty construction workers.
Her response? She could care less. Sarcastically, she asserts, “Oh it helps my self-esteem/ ’Cause you finally noticed me.”
Catcalling isn’t a form a flattery, especially when there’s a power dynamic involved just as she states in the lyrics, “Who do you think you are/ Yelling at me from your car.”
TacocaT won’t be anyone’s lusty eye candy or told how to behave – especially during that time of the month.
Which leads us into the third track, “Crimson Wave” – definitely my new favorite song about the menses.
Drawing from my own listening experience, it’s gotta be the catchiest song about menstruation out there. They won’t let it drag them down either.
In “Crimson Wave,” they paint us a lively picture of the ball they’re having – drinking white wine and downing Vicodin as remedies (not exactly the kind of advice featured in glossy women’s magazines).
The song is coupled with their music video already online, where they’re frolicking on the beach with periwinkle hair and dancing crustaceans’ mascots.
Although TacocaT handles conventional issues in a modern girl’s life like the menses and street harassment, they also get personal and visit topics like apathetic exes and failed romantic encounters.
But make no mistake; she’s not asking for your sympathy.
She demands vindication. And she’ll rip him to shreds to get it, like in “Pocket Full of Primrose”.
Occasionally on “NVM,” TacocaT slips away from the punk and slick-pop approach, dressing up tracks like “Party Trap” and “Psychedelic Quinceanera” with the occasional spunky horn, somewhat reminiscent of third-wave ska. Or something you’d hear in No Doubt’s 1995 “Tragic Kingdom.”
Rest assured, a daily dose of TacocaT’s “NVM” will satisfy your power-pop sweet tooth without the worry of cavities, considering all the tracks off “NVM” are quick and concise nuggets of fun, clocking in at a mere one to two minutes each.
Combining a love for furry animals and Mexican entrees in their name, TacocaT is a superb palindrome for them because just like how you can spell TacocaT forward and backward and get the same result, listening to “NVM” from start to finish, you’ll just want to play track No. 1 and repeat it all over again.