An unfalsifiable theory of lo-fi: it is less about finding new sounds than evoking old feelings, because rock fans are old, too. Evidence: Tacocat, its new album NVM, and the lyric "Stereogram, it's 1994. / Stereogram bring me back to the way it was before."

As any graying punk will tell you, stereograms were the optical illusion craze that swept the nation after Use Your Illusion came out but before we got into Choking Victim. It was a thing you stared at in your teenage bedroom at the time when you were just starting to become cool. The signal achievement of NVM is to evoke that space.

Tacocat sounds invitingly amateurish, like the Moldy Peaches recorded from just outside their practice room. But Tacocat's songwriting is more disciplined, and NVM is packed with two-minute pop punk gems. The muted production makes these songs feel unified rather than repetitive, sanding down the dynamic range until they sound like variations on a theme.

The theme is growing up. It is the fantasy of being a punk as conceived in your friends' bedrooms, as heard from the fantasy of going back. Tacocat must know what they are doing, because for a second, I was there.

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