Vancouver-based The Pack a.d. is Becky Black on guitar and vocals and Maya Miller on drums. They share a blues backbone with other well-known guitar-drums duos, such as The Black Keys, White Stripes, and Left Lane Cruiser–but the Pack also has the muscle to bring its ruckus closer to melodic Stooges and X territory. I was going to say they pack more of a punch, but I waited until the next sentence.
Unpersons is their fourth album. They’re already getting their deserved accolades in Canada, but they’re still translating in America. The Pack has grown from a band that gets by mostly on energy, like Two Cow (or most young people), into a confident, harnessed train wreck. Between Black’s vocals and Miller’s beats, the music emerges as a sludgy mix of ghost rock and droid funk. If The Pack a.d. played the cantina band in Star Wars, it would’ve actually been a menacing scene. Picture it set to:
“I know your pain and share your pain,
let’s have soup together.
I’ll lift a rock and kill the world,
then we’ll have lunch.”
~ from the song “8”
Unpersons has been out for a few months, but if you’re just getting it now, it’ll make a great companion listen to the new Black Keys album. That’s not fair, though–the album stands on its own, the Pack is not just another garage-blues duo, it’s one of the best, it’s pushing that loose sound in its own direction. It’s a feat to make hard-driving rock feel desolate, simultaneously woodsy and industrial. They’re also like The Who.