Release Date: May 3, 2019
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Tacocat's fourth album, and first for Sub Pop, This Mess Is a Place is the result of years of playing together as a band; refining their sound and stripping away everything but the biggest hooks, catchiest melodies, and brightest, shiniest surfaces. The quartet worked again with Lost Time's producer Erik Blood, and for the first time tip their balance of punk and pop decidedly in the direction of the latter. It makes for an almost giddy listening experience as the band romps from one bouncy tune to the next.
When Tacocat first entered indie rock's collective consciousness, "pastel goth" and flasks laminated in Lisa Frank stickers were very cool, and "resting bitch face" had yet to become a pop-feminism cliché. The Seattle-based four-piece came up in perhaps the simpler times of the early 2010s. Consistent but not exactly prolific, Tacocat could've easily fallen into the trap of sounding like any other unabashedly twee group that ripened in the first half of the decade.
Photo by Helen Moga You'll pardon me for always, always, always thinking of Tacocat as the band with a song about urinary tract infections, a bounding mass of sarcastic positivity with brightly dyed hair and brightly tuned guitars, as they were around a decade ago at SXSW when I first came across them. Since then, the band has gotten more poised, better recorded and more widely known, though still goofy enough even three years ago to dedicate a song to the X-Files' Dana Scully. This Mess Is a Place is considerably more grown up and pop-leaning than any of Tacocat's previous albums, with lavishly massed vocals and bounce-y hooks, yet it retains an air of joyous subversion, sweet but spiky and smart.