It has been said that Mint Records – the indie Vancouver
imprint that has been home to Canadian artists Neko Case, the New
Pornographers, and Lou Barlow – will often sign bands to their roster after a
night of hearty drinking. Cheers then to owners Randy Iwata and Bill Baker for
making some of the best drunk decisions ever with their label signings, the
latest highlight being la femme duo the Pack A.D. whose newest album Unpersons continues to extrapolate their
chronological blend of blues, garage rock, and post-punk steeped in the very
essence of their prior two albums.
Like the name of the album implies, Unpersons is the deconstruction of the artists the Pack A.D. have
become and of the music they create to their barest, simplest beauty. While
other girl groups may bury themselves in flashy glitter and Auto Tune
perfection, singer/guitarist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller are rustic,
raw, honest, and really damn entertaining. They’re
leather-jackets-messy-hair-take-us-as-we-are rock prodigies who continue to
silence the stale comparisons that have hunted them since their birth in the
prime season of 2006’s game-changers.
If Unpersons symbolizes anything, it’s the breakaway of Black and Miller from the White
Stripes dogma and becoming persons spun of their own string. “Sirens,” the
album’s first track heeds this call to attention and sets the guide map for the
rest of the album with its gritty staccato beat and battle axe guitar that spar
against Black’s come hither snarl. “Haunt You” and “8”continue the intimidating
record store soundtrack aura while warming the bench for the bait-and-switch to
come later in the album when Black morphs from hard-ass into hard-on-her luck
in dramatic, toned-down numbers “Seasick” and “Take.” Both songs show a
songwriter evolving in her liner notes and gaining confidence in her vocal
track, still employing the hard grit but in a different mode of expression.
The righteous punk of “Body Parts” and primal scream of
“Ride” bring back the furor to end the album with a multi-faceted appeal:
perfect for workout reps, chore zoning, or good old drinking parties in the
spirit of Mint Records. We look forward to seeing what happens when the label
buys them another round.
“Sirens,” “Seasick,” “Pieces” SELENA FRAGASSI