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Tacocat - This Mess Is A Place

  • Published in Albums

The opening track, and recent single, ‘Hologram’ sets the tone for This Mess Is A Place.  I hesitate to call Tacocat’s sound “pop punk” because of the baggage that tag carries with it.  They are far removed from the shrill, over-produced, homogenised, production line mentality one associates with that genre but they are nonetheless a pop band who play with a punk approach.  The palm-muted power chords, heavy choruses and three part harmonies all suggest pop punk without becoming it.  They blend indie singer-songwriter lyrics and melodies with power pop choruses, and play grungy guitars under it all. 

The grunge label is one that fits This Mess Is A Place much more comfortably.  It helps that it’s being released on Seattle’s Sub Pop label too.  With the variety of styles and multiple songwriters, the record sounds like a mixtape of ‘90s alternative rock with Weezer songs followed by The Breeders, and The Raincoats next to Veruca Salt.  Throw in Nirvana, Hole and The Vaselines et voila, you’ve got the new Tacocat LP.

Tacocat tread new ground on each track. Working within the confines of a basic rock guitar/bass/drums setup, they throw in some light funk a la Tom Tom Club on ‘Grains Of Salt’ to great effect. The Infectious chorus and sweet groove make if feel like Led Zeppelin’s ‘D’yer Maker’. Elsewhere we get some Ronnie Spector style vocals on current single, ‘The Joke Of Life’, over a Ramones guitar riff; very End Of The Century. The twin guitars work in counterpoint, lifting the chorus of ‘Rose Colored Sky’ to euphoric heights and ‘Crystal Ball’ is another classic pop tune, with Tacocat channelling the Buckingham/Nicks era Fleetwood Mac,but the punk roots that underlie This Mess Is A Place come to the fore on ‘Phantom’.

Finishing off the LP, ‘Miles and Miles’, shouldn’t work.  Slow ballads and distortion pedals go together as well as yesterday’s fish pie and the office microwave but somehow they manage, just about, to pull it off.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that it sounds so much like Weezer’s blue album opener ‘My Name Is Jonah’.  I reached for the skip button during the first listen but ‘Miles and Miles’ endures.  As a closing track it works, aided by the identifiable chorus, “The days dragged, but the years have flown by

This Mess Is A Place is a sunny collection of tunes and arrives at the first weekend in May.  The timing could hardly be better.  This is best listened to while walking down sunny city streets or lazing in the garden.  Or by the pool, if you are so inclined. There isn’t a bad song on here. I have now listened to this record ten times in a row without skipping a track. That is the best recommendation I could give any album.

You can pre-order This Mess Is A Place here




The Coathangers UK Tour Starts Next Week

  • Published in News



Next week The Coathangers kick off their European tour in support of new album, The Devil You Know, which was released earlier this year on Suicide Squeeze. To celebrate, the band have shared a new video for one of the album's stand-out tracks, ‘Stranger Danger’.

Vocalist and drummer Stephanie Luke says, “‘Stranger Danger’ is a song about avoiding the negative people in one’s life, like when your mother used to tell you “stranger danger!” so you wouldn’t go off with the bad guys. The video is dark with flashes of light (actual flashlights) to invoke that feeling of the unknown. Then we have our ever so good sport of a friend and album artwork artist/frequent collaborator Scott Montoya, whom we’ve kidnapped and continue to “terrorize” throughout the video, so we in fact have become the dangerous strangers. This was one of our favourites to make with our amazingly talented videographer Matt Odom, enjoy!”

From calling out US gun legislation on ‘F The NRA’ to addressing addiction on ‘Step Back’, The Devil You Know leaves no room to doubt that, ten years in, they're still one of the most vital and truth-seeking punk bands around. The album title stems from an old adage whispered at a friend’s wedding; we settle when we’re afraid of the unknown. It’s a theme that runs through every song on the album, and even though the band insists they were writing songs about other peoples’ pain, they acknowledge that the old saying applies to their band as well. We get comfortable, we get scared, and we refuse to change. But with The Devil You Know, The Coathangers lost their fear, and that allowed them to shed the baggage of the past. “Why are we living in these cells we built for ourselves?” Kugel asks. “That’s been the great thing about this record. It’s been honest and confrontational… but not in a shitty way.”

The Coathangers European live dates:

April 24 - Brighton, England @ The Latest Music Bar

April 25 - London, England @ Studio 9294

April 27 - Leicester, England @ The Cookie

April 28 - Glasgow, Scotland @ SWG Poetry Club

April 29 - Manchester, England @ Soup Kitchen

April 30 - Liverpool, England @ Arts Club (Loft)

May 01 - Leeds, England @ The Key Club



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