It’s not hard to find oneself enraged by anything and everything these days (climate change, Trump, online trolls, you name it). However, Vancouver grunge-rock duo The Pack A.D.’s ferocious new album Positive Thinking (U.S. release Nov. 11 via Cadence Music) just might be the cure for what ails you or at least a good starting point for channeling some of those volatile emotions as well as providing a perfect excuse to turn the volume up LOUD. Their last album Do Not Engage was one badass record and Positive Thinking picks up where that left off — equal parts fierce, but also showcasing the band’s growth, refinement and inner selves.
The Pack A.D. have retained their honest approach to songwriting and penchant for playing what they describe as “loud, loud, loud” music but this go-around they took some extra time and care to hone and craft their signature indie grunge-rock sound. As drummer Maya Miler explains, “We recorded this album over a full year an a half and stayed in Vancouver to do it. We actually recorded songs in four different sessions and then culled the album down from over twenty songs. Do Not Engage was made in Detroit and Vancouver in a shorter amount of time. With Positive Thinking we really wanted to allow ourselves to be a little precious about the songs. We made songs that we like playing and didn’t really let anyone else’s opinions play a part.”
The Pack A.D. also draw from an array of multi-faceted influences such as film, art and literature realms, and including the likes of Laurie Anderson, Miranda July, Joan Didion, David Lynch, Kate Bush, Susan Sontag, etc. The band also admits to being book nerds, reading a lot both at home and on tour, undoubtedly influencing the stories and lyrics in their music. Miller shares how their haunting song “Error” is about the book The Terror by Dan Simmons, which dives into the true story of the 1845 Franklin expedition of the HMS Terror and HMS Erebus, two ships that became icebound in the Canadian Arctic. Just hearing that sends shivers down my spine and adds a trip to the library on my to-do list.
The Pack A.D. strides a fine balance of allowing interesting influences inform their sound whilst also staying true to their own course. From the emotional sensitivity and vulnerability at the epicenter of “Sorrow” to the rough-and-tumble “Skin Me” whose vocals plummet into an abyss of clattering cymbals, and every time singer/guitarist Becky Black belts out “I’m falling down” — you can’t help but feel a heave in your chest – I could hear the love and work that The Pack A.D. really put into this album.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”#FF78FF” class=”fistclass” size=”15″]”We very much allowed more of our own personal lives into the work. Songs such as “So What,” “Sorrow,” and “Skin Me,” in particular feel very raw and honest.” For drummer Maya Miller, she also took a particular liking to the gritty, dramatic number “Los Angeles,” which she shares as her favorite song on the album. “I had a very interesting summer last year and this song is about some specific feelings of anxiety that seemed to direct everything at the time.”[/perfectpullquote]
The Pack A.D.’s devout openness is appealing to both my musical palette and my newly expanded admiration for them. When it comes to what they hope fans will take away from the Positive Thinking listening experience — connecting and communicating on a deeper level with their audience is a priority.
“I hope they find something that they can relate to…something that let’s them know they’re not alone,” shares Miller.
Knowing that a band really gives a shit about their listeners and aren’t shy from offering up a real chunk of themselves in exchange for an open and engaged ear is truly a gem, especially in a music industry that sometimes forgets that musical connectivity is what it’s really all about.
Can’t make it to the show? The Pack A.D. are offering snail mail post cards throughout their tour for fans that email them (see Facebook page for details).
“I think we all want connection and we all want exciting, non-bill related mail. I know I do.”
~ Maya Miler, Drummer, The Pack A.D.
Watch The Pack A.D.’s video for “Yes I Know” below.
Watch The Pack A.D.’s video for “So What” below.
The Pack A.D.’s new album Positive Thinking is out in the U.S. on November 11 via Cadence Music. Stream it and / or order it here.
Positive Thinking Track Listing:
1. So What
2. Yes I Know
3. Teenage Crime
6. Los Angeles
9. Gold Eyes
10. Is It So
11. Skin Me
12. Fair Enough