12 Track, LP (2012, Fan Death)
Related: Taco Leg.
It’s hard to believe that anyone could like Taco Leg. A band that prides itself on its own incompetence, their oeuvre consists of a handful of poorly-executed, half-finished songs written around front man Andrew Murray’s bizarre obsession with architecture and shit films. There’s an obtuse reference to Jack Black’s Shallow Hal in the rudimentary guitar clunk of ‘Shadow Pal’, and a banal, factually inaccurate recount of Indiana Jones’ famous boulder scene in the only song with a sustained rhythm (‘Raiders’). Murray isn’t even into the good kind of architecture either.
An early lowest-of-the-lo-fi track, ‘Freemason’s Hall’ – recorded by drummer Richard Ingham – is a lover’s ode to a Brutalist building that was so good it got knocked down before Murray could see it. ‘Original’ follows, a meditation on the much-maligned and wildly expensive Perth Arena, designed by some Melbourne architects. In fact, if executed correctly, ‘Original’ could pass for a song by some garage rock revivalists circa 2000, but thankfully it isn’t. Instead, it nestles alongside deadpan retorts to pointless questions (“What’s happening? Where’s it going? What’s your plan for the future?), lumbering, hollow-sounding cymbals and mundane single-note guitar lines (‘The Future’). Even the album cover features a staircase from a Town Hall in Murray’s Western Australian hometown that no one else seems to like.
But deliberate contrarians Taco Leg are not. Containing the urgent party band energy of Mika Miko (with none of the technical ability, granted) and the carefree, ramshackle egalitarianism of Beat Happening, their songs cover the banalities of suburban life with the most dynamic and, dare I say it, brilliant authenticity. From a game of hide-and-seek in the grating punk riffage of ‘Find Me’ (“shall we hide beneath the floor? Or crouch behind the bathroom door?”), to the oppressive heat of an Australian summer in ‘Sun’ (“it’s a scorcher mate/I really hate/it outside”), this is a band that does what they do and enjoy doing so.
When Murray sings “We’ll prance around/ won’t have any cares” not only does he mean it, he also establishes a devout anti-aesthetic that is equally as obnoxious as it is consciously abstract. Whether you like it or not, Taco Leg’s debut, by its very nature, positions them on the very fringe of the fringes, while daring you in a typically broad, tone deaf-yelp to like them: “I don’t know why you come here. I don’t know why you care.” I don’t know why either, but I do.
by Steph Kretowicz