Vancouver-based rock duo The Pack A.D. bring to the table their latest release, Do Not Engage, a follow-up to their 2011 full-length, Unpersons. With a complementary dynamic between guitarist and vocalist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller, the two belt out another record that embellishes the energetic spirit of garage and psychedelic rock. Without a doubt, this female-fronted power duo knows no boundaries of volume.
When listening to this album for the first time, you can’t help but picture Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak trading places with Mudhoney frontman Mark Arm. Introducing listeners to their gritty style immediately, opening songs like “Airborne” and “Animal” emphasize the esthetics of fuzz and reverb to create a mesmerizing harmony. While these two tracks start off the record with an edgy and heavily distorted personality, “Big Shot” is a melodic single that adds a poppy twist with Black’s crunching guitar tone. Following suit with an onslaught of explosive melodies, “Rocket” and “Battering Ram” are other deep cuts that provide listeners with face-melting solos and echoing reverb.
Another peculiar attribute that reflects The Pack’s rebellious and restless persona can be identified through Black’s playfully extraordinary lyrics. From the blues-driven punk outlet “Stalking Is Normal” to morbidly dreary ballads like “Loser” and “Needles,” not only does Black serenade you with her electrifying chords, but also with her captivating and engaging narrative. These songs, for example, not only capture Black’s charisma and spunk as a lead vocalist, but also allow you to dig deep into her darkest thoughts.
What genuinely shapes the appeal of Do Not Engage is Black’s emotionally abrasive vocal variety and rugged distortion that combines distinctively with Miller’s quirky offset drumming. Do Not Engage is a fascinating outlet that embodies a rebellious attitude and captures the essence of contemporary alternative rock. The Pack A.D. definitely pack a punch with each song on this release.
In A Word: Edgy