If you ever get the feeling that the spirit and feisty devilment of the old CBGB hey days was a distant memory than rush over to the debut album from Nashville bred rockers Taco Mouth. Uncaging ten tracks which has the body bouncing and spirit roaring, A Deafening Silence is a punch of nostalgia and fresh enterprise which pretty much had us enslaved from the first listen of its first song.
The heart of the band is vocalist/guitarist Erica Sellers and drummer Angela Lese, a friendship and musical partnership which goes back to 2011 and the former’s new band at the time, CatFight. Lese’s relocation from Kentucky to Nashville brought that outfit to an end but a regular pleading for her former band mate to join her led to Sellers moving and with three other girls, the formation of The Dead Deads. After several national tours and two full-length albums, Sellers and Lese left the quintet in the October of 2017, quickly forming Taco Mouth with lead guitarist Shawn Hammer (engineer of Chevelle, Conor Oberst, Cursive) and bassist Flip Cooper (Damon Johnson, Brother Cane) completing its line-up.
Earlier this year, the band released the W.G.A.F. EP, a very well-received taster of the band’s punk fuelled, pop infested, ebullient rock ‘n’ roll now making one virulent holler from within A Deafening Silence. With defiance and attitude wrapped in hook ridden contagion, the Michael Wagener produced album immediately sets about getting under the skin with opener You Say. Flames of guitar instantly consume ears, a catchy rhythmic trespass in close pursuit before Sellers’ vocals join the swift coaxing. Within seconds an underlying hook teases but captivation is truly set with the song’s irresistibly rousing chorus. Like a hybrid of The Donnas, Spinnerette, and Sleater-Kinney but urgently enforcing its own individual character, the song as the band’s sound and enterprise sets the tone, manipulation, and adventure of things to come.
Romero follows, almost unwinding its lures as guitar and rhythms stir with predacious intent. The dual invitation of Selles and Lese’s vocals accentuate its temptation until breaking into a calm but determined stroll, bass and drums continuing to challenge as they entice. A sixties pop adds to the raw seduction, a radiant reflection on the track’s rawer observational edge before Burn This City Down springs its own flirtatiously imposing canter led by flesh whipping beats alongside a great bass grumble. Again defiance and catchy exploits collude in a slice of pop ‘n’ punk which had the body and vocal chords worked like a puppet.
Taking its predecessor’s strong mix of pop and punk, Let’s Get a Little Bit brings it to an even richer and keener boil, the song a tenaciously devious proposal orchestrating body and spirit with primal yet imaginative incitement soaked in infectious enticement while Queen of the Stags has a rapacious lining to its individually conniving contagiousness. Both outstanding tracks resound with the band’s skilful mix of flavours and creative cunning, and the pleasure an already greedy appetite was keenly devouring.
If both tracks are scheming, Simmers is pure unscrupulous seduction, the track a slowly evolving temptress with feline moves and inescapable devilment where every moment builds on the one before with darker intent and greater magnetism before the galvanic punk ‘n’ roll of Fighting for Today explodes in ears. An arousing call to arms and battle cry against a certain political leadership but applicable to all, the track just commanded lust and participation for its melodic howl.
The melodic serenade of You Can’t Stop Me is just as compelling, its intimate echo and smouldering uprising irresistible with next up Katie casting a pop hued incitement for ears and instinctive involvement through a rowdy yet inescapably catchy nature awash with crafty hooks and creative antics.
The album concludes with Waiting for the Sun, a song swinging with hip grabbing grooves while invitingly taunting with imagination firing hooks. It is a track epitomising the strengths and personality of the album and the band’s sound, the ever enticing shadows of the rhythms and the seriously magnetic vocals equally adding to its strength and overall to a release impressing more and more by the listen.
This year has seen quite a few striking punk nurtured treats unleashed; A Deafening Silence just might be the juiciest one of them all.
A Deafening Silence is out now and available @ https://tacomouth.bandcamp.com/album/a-deafening-silence
Pete RingMaster 14/11/2018
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