Taco Hell

Retainer EP

Written by: MIN on 22/03/2017 14:15:45

Self-proclaimed dreamo-punx from Nottingham, UK, Taco Hell, have a funny name to cover up the sadness, according to their Facebook information. As soon as the 34-second album-starter “My Mother Wouldn’t Approve” gets past its first initial chords and you hear one of two vocalists, Joe Booker, yell ”I don’t really like people, but I have to speak to them”, you’re pretty sure that the Facebook info’s not a joke. Taco Hell’s second EP “Retainer” reeks of punk, emo and indie music with influences spanning through the last 30 years. If a charismatic mix of Cap’n Jazz, Rozwell Kid, TWiaBP… and The Smiths sounds good to you, I’m convinced that “Retainer” will be right up your alley.

Let me start by applauding the band for both production-wise and musically having taken a step up since their first (and decent) outing, “Breathe Deeply”, from 2016. The production is clearer (although still shoddy enough to know what genre we’re dealing with) and as a result the music itself simply reaches further out and grabs the listener a lot better than what the band’s previous EP did. Secondly, there’s the guitar hooks. From the metallic and fuzzy leads on the absurd “Baby Teeth” to the Police-esque opening chords of “Wait for Me”, Taco Hell has simply crafted more gorgeous melodies than most bands as young as they could’ve hoped for. Already by these credentials, the band manages to stand out. From here on out, the harsh (Booker) versus soft (Eleanor Parkinson) vocal harmonies and catchy choruses that often occur just feel like a delicious bonus.

There’s also the fact that Taco Hell is relatable. Who can’t relate (just sometimes) when the band sing about wanting to cut off from everybody else and just get drunk with the person next to them? Or how about churning out lyrics about your favorite character from the TV-show Friends? If that doesn’t interest you, then there’s always the safe way to go: songs about self-loathing and bad self-esteem. Bottom line is that Taco Hell feels real and honest. Admittedly, you rarely get surprised or astounded by what they come up with, but as for now, it’s enough.

Lastly, I’ll add that I could’ve used some further exploration of sounds. Several songs are catchy and feel like potential singles, but it would’ve been nice to hear something in the likes of the “Breathe Deeply” title-track (especially now that the band both plays and sounds better). More often than not the band’s songs build up to a climatic ending, but the atmosphere and post-rockish droning from that particular track is missing. But hopefully that’s in store for a future full-length debut which I really hope will be made – the band definitely has the potential to make a good one!


Download: Hold the Door, Wait for Me, Baby Teeth
For The Fans Of: Cap’n Jazz, Rozwell Kid, Joyce Manor, The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die
Listen: Facebook

Release date 10.03.2017
Circle House Records

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