Tacocat is just as silly and fun-loving as their name, making their new album, NVM, feel like they're a group that hails from Hawaii rather than Seattle. NVM is pure surf-pop, evoking beach parties rather than stereotypical Northwestern grunge, and the foursome, composed of Emily Nokes, Bree McKenna, Lelah Maupin, and Eric Randall, are just as effective in bringing up summertime as a sunlamp.
That being said, NVM should not be written off as a simple surf garage album. While the band's image may seem goofy (to say the least, these guys are on top of their memes), they do not simply sing about sunshine and weed. Many of the songs discuss escape, and not just from over-exposure. The first single, “Bridge To Hawaii,” could act as NVM's thesis: “It's dark and it rains all the time / I'm guessing not the destination that you had in mind / Your brain's unraveling, the endless traveling / And when you cant go up, jump into the ocean.”
Not only does Tacocat encourage physical escape, they are vocal about sexism, both in their songs and in real life. Bassist Bree McKenna wrote a powerful essay about the expectations of being a “girl band.” (You can read the essay for yourself on The Stranger.) but the crux of the band is that Tacocat is not Bikini Kill, and neither is every other band with predominantly female members. Tacocat expresses their politics in a unique form, preferring fun to anger, which contributes to the approachability of NVM.
Two of the albums most enjoyable moments are the anthems about embracing menstruation and hating catcalling. “Crimson Wave” is about accepting the monthly blues and hitting the waves, while “Hey Girl” is a sarcastic, Bratmobile-esque declaration against catcalling. The video for the former is a kitschy beach party, filled with green-screen waves and dancing humanoid sea life. However, Tacocat's animated style doesn't require a music video: instead, it is obvious in songs like “Psychedelic Quinceañera.” Acid-drenched instead on sun-drenched, the tune represents Tacocat's humorous, upbeat, carefree style with lines like “Consuela's coming of age they say, time for Jesus, ballgowns and bouquets / But she's got a better plan, a blotter in each of her hands.”
As winter continues to cling on for dear life, Tacocat's sunny NVM couldn't be released at a better time.
NVM is available from Hardly Art now.