Fictional characters should cross media boundaries more often. The results – from Woody Guthrie’s Steinbeck sequel, ‘Tom Joad’, to Pusha T’s invocations of The Wire’s Marlo Stanfield – are almost always fun. With ‘Dana Katherine Scully’, the opening track on their new album ‘Lost Time’, Tacocat have probably delivered their best yet.
As if to distract from, or perhaps highlight, how truly abysmal the revival season of The X-Files was, every episode of the series from the beginning is being shown on TV. But if you want a real sense of how it so vividly invaded the popular imagination, listen to Tacocat. The band pounding behind her, Emily Nokes moves from an excitable fan’s litany of what she loves about Agent Scully (“’Cause she’s the only one thinking it through/She’s got the perfect hair/No-nonsense attitude”), to a blissful donning of the character: “The truth is out there, but so am I/To see the world through Dana Katherine Scully’s eyes.”
Like nearly everything they’ve done, from their stinging early demos to 2014’s irresistible “NVM”, it’s perfect. And when I say everything, I mean right down to their song titles: ‘You Never Came Back From Burning Man’; ‘Bridge To Hawaii’; ‘Psychedelic Quinceañera.’ For starters, on ‘Lost Time’ you get ‘I Hate The Weekend’, ‘You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit’ (‘Oh no, you’re not breaking up with me/I’m breaking up with you, actually!’) and ‘Men Explain Things To Me.’
More than on “NVM”, though, they get the perfect balance between acerbic world-weariness (the end-of-your-tether repetition of “Don’t fuck with me” in “FDP”), unashamed childishness (on “Horse Grrrls”: “They know the different breeds/Of all their favourite steeds”) and pure acid (every pent-up moment of “Men Explain Things To Me.”) The whole album is so infectious, so cathartic, a sustained, sardonic broadside on a world of internet comment sections, men crowding up sidewalks, out-of-towners trashing your streets at the weekend. And because of this, the music – from Lelah Maupin’s emphatic drumming to Eric Randall’s discursive slashing and soloing – is completely liberated, played with a rush and a thrill.
Tacocat’s energy, volatility, humor, fury, and their ability to make every song – whether it takes one listen or twenty – an earworm, makes anything else that’s ever been labeled “pop punk” seem puny. As you listen you can believe there’s no one in the world having more fun playing music, no one having more fun listening to it.
‘Lost Time’ is out on April 1st via Hardly Art.
This Tacocat Review was written by James Dawson, a Gigsoup Contributor. Edited by Stephen Butchard.