For those who love to rock, you do not want to miss Vancouver’s ferocious duo the Pack A.D. when it plays Victoria’s Club 9one9 this coming Thursday.
The heavy-hitting, two-girl tandem, made up of vocalist/guitarist Becky Black and drummer/vocalist Maya Miller, is touring in support of its most recent full-length album, Unpersons. The duo is gaining well-deserved critical acclaim for both its raw brand of punker blues, as well as its raucous, in-your-face live performances. As with its 2010 release We Kill Computers, the Pack A.D. made it a priority to create an album that sounds as close to its live show as possible.
“That is kind of the goal every single time,” says Miller. “They are two completely different animals, playing live and recording an album. I think we got a lot closer on this album. It definitely sounds the closest to us live . . . but I don’t think we’re quite there yet. I don’t think that anyone actually gets there because it’s kind of impossible, unless you do a live album.”
In many ways, Unpersons falls right in line with the band’s previous releases. The record brims with the band’s usual booze-infused, crusty sound compiled of heavily distorted guitars and Miller’s bang’n’smash drumming style. Black’s deceptively wide vocal range rides atop the fury of sound, traipsing from a sass-soaked talk-sing on songs like “Haunt You” to the much more emotive wail found on “Take,” a song that explores what one sacrifices in a broken relationship.
The back and forth stomper “Rid of Me,” which Miller wrote the lyrics to the night before they were recorded, is filled with waster rocker images like, “I drank two bottles of wine then I threw up and felt just fine,” and “you said I climbed in the sink, well shit, I don’t remember that.” The nonchalant nature of this song speaks to the Pack A.D.’s attitude towards both the making of this record and its music in general.
“Either you’re going to like or you’re not going to like it, that’s the attitude we have when we record anything or play any show,” says Miller. “The whole album, in the end, is about monsters and breakups, but it wasn’t intended that way. We didn’t go in with any kind of theme, really; that is just how it wrote itself… but if people can relate to them as break-up songs and it makes them feel good or sad then that’s good, I guess.”
Perhaps what separates Unpersons from previous Pack A.D. releases is a new-found depth and awareness. Whether intentional or not, this record is laced with a loathing, both inward and outward, that hints at a growing uneasiness with the world. A good example of this is the chorus on the relatively slow “Seasick” which states, “I’d rather be seasick than stuck in this shit, there’s no cure for idiocy, but all the nerve escapes me and I become you, and realize the idiot is me.”
Make no mistake though, despite this move towards greater depth, the Pack A.D. is still a band that throws everything-we-have haymakers. As for the live shows, “it’s generally a loud and sweaty experience,” says Miller.
Get ready to be knocked on your ass. M
— Dylan Toigo