“HE LOUD, QUIRKY AND STYLISHLY COOL SOUND OF THE TACKIES FEELS SOMEWHAT LIKE A THROWBACK. THE BAND HONES IN ON A GENERATION OF MUSIC FROM MANY YEARS AGO, WITH A MODEST YET REFINED DISCOGRAPHY SOUNDING LIKE IT COULD BE OFF OF THE SOUNDTRACK TO THE MOVIE SUPERBAD, OR THE ANTHEM FOR RECKLESS, PARTY-GOING TEENS IN DAZED AND CONFUSED. THE BAND OOZES WITH RETRO SENSATIONS WITH AN ENERGETICALLY CHARGED, MODERNIZED TAKE ON DANCE-BEACHROCK AND PUNK AND THEY USE THIS VANTAGE POINT TO GIVE A NEW ENERGY TO SOME CLASSIC ROCK ARCHETYPES.”
Words & Second first photo by NNEKA NNAGBO
The overall experience of seeing The Tackies perform live is a little like what I imagine a 1971 Rolling Stones performance in your bedroom to feel like. Every bit of matter in the room is buzzing, their stage presence is brazen and infectious, their songs are teeming with catchy, stylistic hooks, and their performances are all the more punctuated by the animated swagger of lead vocalist Hans Vivian-Wenzel.
Sound-wise, the comparisons with The Talking Heads or Franz Ferdinand are legitimate, but mostly regarding their energetic sass and ability to paint peppy, awestruck moments throughout their songs. However, the boys are emphatic about the fact that they don’t take cues from anyone their style and sound are their own.
“We don’t try to sound like anybody which is why I love it,” said drummer Jamie Orser.
“We all come from very different musical backgrounds,” said blonde and long-haired lead singer, Vivian-Wenzel.
“I think we do just try to do our own thing and make our own music. We like to make things happen accidentally I guess.”
Tackies bassist and keyboardist, Galen Cussion added, “I always tell people we’re alternative rock just because it means so much as a title. I can just say, ‘well we got a little bit of punk [in our sound], we got a little bit of dance rock, we got a little bit of mainstream in us.’ But ultimately, we’re us.”
Based in Ottawa, the four-piece met in 2013 during the second year of their music program at Carleton University. “We were all jamming in a room,” said Vivian-Wenzel. “And some lady came in and said ‘We need a band for a show on Friday’ and we kind of lied and said we were a band.
We were like, ‘Yeah we can totally do a set this Friday’ and then we ended up writing a bunch of tunes, covering a few, and ended up booking a studio date two days after the show. We did our show on the Friday and we did our rst EP on the Sunday, all within a week.”
Since their organic formation in 2015, The Tackies have developed somewhat of a distinctive style that blends all the best parts of dancebeach-rock, punk, and new wave, into something thrilling. The band’s most recent release, Beach Party, incorporates new tropes, including Beach Boys-esque surf rock into their practice. The ve-song EP is a sonic embodiment of hard-edged, passionate intensity that sees the group wholeheartedly embrace their hard rock inclinations.
The EP arrives two years on from the band’s rst ever release. Their self-titled EP The Tackies, is a ritzy but tamer rendition of Beach Party, both albums selling nuanced versions of dance rock.
The band managed to parlay the less-re ned, low soundscape of their rst release into something hard-core yet decidedly original, as seen in Beach Party. Sonically, Beach Party is very much an extension of The Tackies’ rst release, but their content is seemingly drifting into new directions.
“It’s de nitely much larger production-wise,” said Vivian-Wenzel. “We were very picky with where to go to record it and with whom. We produced the album with Jensen Grant and tracked everything pretty much in a day. So I think the energy came across a lot more with the o the oor aspect and the rush of it, compared to tracking each instrument separately like in our rst EP.”
There are only 15 minutes of music on The Tackies’ latest release project, but that’s more than enough time for them to make a lasting impression.
Garnering inspiration from their experiences with suburban house parties, the lyrics in Beach Party aren’t overly personal, rather they re unabashedly simple and inclusive, propelling their songs into the realm of universality and relatability.
“It’s relatable to everyone,” said Vivian-Wenzel. “Everyone’s been to house parties so we just kind of make [these songs] and hope people can either think of a friend or think of themselves in our stories.”
The very spirit of a party is social and celebratory in nature, usually involving some form of entertainment—or the party itself is the entertainment. Such is the case with the The Tackies.
“You can’t just talk about a party you have to be the party,” said Cussion. “And that maybe sounds a bit tacky but it’s true. We enjoy ourselves as a band and it’s because we’ve got exciting, energetic music.”
The album’s opening track, “A.F. 108,” debuts with a clean, trilling ri and maintains the band’s pastiche of Franz Ferdinand throughout. In the album’s title track, “Beach Party,” the band pairs together hazy surf rock with punk rock, by way of The Ramones. The two minute ripper is slow-building and raw, accented by the feral, toddling growl, “let’s craaaaaash this,” sung by Wenzel, and the immediate anthemic chant of “Beach Party!” makes you feel comfortably out of your mind.
The most aggressively hard rock song on the album, and tingly the album closer, “Make Waves,” ironically feels like the album’s spiritual center. The song its through a sound that is irtatious and sophisticatedly haunting upon fervently exploding into a pit of loudness and hardcore chord progressions. Every mood and sound the band has ever evoked can be found on this single track, melded together into something greater.
Despite the brevity of both their EP’s, The Tackies’ unapologetic charisma and potent musical ability still ring strong throughout both bodies of work. The overall message the band wishes to convey to their listeners is simple: “Stop taking yourself so seriously,” said Vivian-Wenzel.
Ultimately the music of The Tackies is a metaphor for one big party . . . and everyone’s invited.