In many ways, Tacocat sounds like a group that could have existed 20 years ago. The Seattle-based feminist pop-rock quartet revels in its ’90s-punk, Riot grrrl stylings, enthusiastically wearing its old-school influences on its sleeves. This is ultimately what makes “Lost Time,” the group’s third album, as enjoyable as it is. “Lost Time” is a true-to-style pop-punk record as angsty as it is fun, as catchy as it is chaotic, and while it lacks the stylistic range to earn highest honors within the genre, it offers an enjoyable romp nonetheless.
Perhaps most characteristic of Tacocat are the vocals, delivered by group lead Emily Nokes. The singer’s voice exists in a space somewhere between ambivalent and angsty, each verse feeling as if uttered through a crooked smile and making for some extremely satisfying choruses. Notable among the group’s tracks is “FDP,” which exclaims defiantly, “FDP, don’t f— with me,” over and over until safely stuck in the listener’s head.
For listeners, singing along with Nokes is unavoidable and ultimately quite enjoyable, capturing another great strength of “Lost Time.” It’s exceedingly fun, with drummer Lelah Maupin driving tracks like “I Hate the Weekend” toward surf-skater mosh territory. This energy constantly feels authentic, and with tracks leaning more toward the sub-four minute range, never overstays its welcome. Instead, Tacocat avoids letting audiences get too used to anything, changing it up just before they get comfortable and keeping track-to-track transitions brisk while maintaining the album’s energy.
However, this isn’t to say Tacocat doesn’t ever get stuck in its ways. The album, even with its contagious instrumentation, lacks evolution, and while each track is a great example of femme-punk instrumentation, it’s all exactly that from start to finish. “Dana Katherine Scully,” the album’s opener, could happily exist as the album’s closer, and “Leisure Bees,” the album’s closer, could just as well open the album. Both tracks exhibit the best traits of the group, but some listeners will crave more purpose in the songwriting and album structure.
If “Lost Time” has anything, it’s charisma, and that goes a long way. Impressively, Tacocat has managed to encapsulate the most endearing aspects of both punk and Riot grrrl music, making for a driven, kinetic release that is worthy of successive listens.