It’s been a while since we’ve seen delightfully raucous garage rock duo The Pack A.D. here in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection (I believe the last time was when they were supporting Man or Astro-Man? At Underground Arts two years ago, although they’ve also put on quite memorable sets at Kung Fu Necktie and the North Star in the past five years.), but that’s about to be remedied. Today, October 20th, the Vancouver duo kick off a large handful of dates in Toronto, which will take them through the end of November (and include a number of overseas dates in Germany and France) and will have them back at Kung Fu Necktie next Wednesday, October 26th.
Yesterday I got a chance to chat with The Pack A.D.’s vocalist/guitarist Becky Black (Read my September 2014 chat with the band’s other half, drummer Maya Miller.), who tells me the duo are amped to be back on the road, especially in our parts: “We’re excited to hit the East Coast in the states, which we haven’t played in a while, and going overseas is always fun.” The Pack A.D. are currently touring behind their recently-released sixth LP, Positive Thinking, which will get a stateside release November 11th, courtesy of Cadence Music. While the album doesn’t abandon the band’s roots in garage rock and exceptionally abrasive blues, it does see them expanding their sonic repertoire, exploring psych rock to a greater extent than ever before and even dabbling a bit in stoner rock, rockabilly, and post-punk. Becky’s favorite album track of the moment, “Medium,” is reminiscent of ‘90s alt rock legends like Veruca Salt channeling The Talking Heads. My favorite track, “Teenage Crime,” is along the lines of The Von Bondies, had they existed in late ‘70s Manchester. During our discussion, Becky tells me that she’s quite excited about the latest album, and that it feels a bit different from their previous effort, 2014’s Do Not Engage, but in a good way.
“I’m pretty happy with our latest album. With every album I’ve done in the past I always thought things could’ve been done better, but I’m really happy with this one. On our last album, it was a bit of a departure. We were writing more pop songs. For this album, we were just writing music we would like, instead of music that we thought other people would like, which I think was a bit of a mistake on the last album.”
I ask Becky Black what the immediate future holds for The Pack A.D. and she tells me it’s basically all about touring Positive Thinking, in addition to taking a short holiday break to let Vancouver weather do its thing: “We’re just touring for the next five weeks and then going home for Christmas with our families. It’s just impossible to leave Vancouver at that time of the year because of the snow, but then it’ll probably be March when we get back out there on tour, hitting all the places we missed this time around.” And when I ask her what can be expected of the live experience when they’re here next week, she tells me that the beautiful chaos of their usual live shows will be there, but with a bit of an added, and hopefully successful, flair: “It’ll be about the same, but I bought a bunch of lights. I haven’t put them together yet, but hopefully that’ll be cool and not hokey, but there will be a light show.”