You might guess that Tacocat’s first album after the election of Donald Trump would, with sharp snark, cut the administration to ribbons. While the local pop-punk quartet has always intermingled less political material with songs about, say, “Horse Grrls” (which you could, I guess, read as a clear-eyed exposé on a subculture), this is also the band that gave us “Men Explain Things to Me” and “I Hate the Weekend.” The open hostility displayed in the news cycle certainly looms over Tacocat’s new album, This Mess Is a Place, which comes out Friday, May 3.
Yet by the album’s third verse, on opener “Hologram,” we get what sounds like a thesis: “How did we come to be so jaded? / I guess it’s more that the rest has faded / But little by little it’s getting bright again.” Lyrically the band is concerned less with the ongoing bleakness of things and more with how people might live through the darkness and contradict it. This optimism shades the music, too. Mess is the band’s first album after graduating labels from Hardly Art to Sub Pop proper, their second working with producer (and local musician) Erik Blood, and it is Tacocat’s most polished work. The guitar work is less scrappy, the harmonies more prominent. We don’t get a big hit of punk fuzz until the fifth track, “Little Friend.” Nevertheless, this is still emphatically Tacocat: hooks abound, so does wit and wisdom. It’s streaming on NPR now. Give it a listen; it might brighten your day.
Tacocat In-Store Performance
May 2, Sonic Boom Records, Free
June 8, Showbox, $17