We are blessed to have so many prominent female rock figures nowadays. With the likes of St.Vincent, Alison Mosshart and Karen O blazing a trail for all rock musicians and giving rock music a much needed dose of adrenaline. They have attitude, charisma and most importantly confidence. They know how to put on a show and captivate audiences. I was lucky enough to see The Kills a few weeks ago supporting Jack White at Kilmainham. Alison Mosshart had swagger as she commanded the stage, but her nonchalant attitude never detracted from her performance. It is this mix of style and professionalism that make her such an enganing perfromer. Unfortunately, Maya Miller from Canadian duo The Pack A.D displays all the attributes of a strong frontwomen with a slacker attitude but she doesn’t full deliver on
perfromance. At times her vocals seem laboured and uninspired and the music follows suit and comes off as drab and lazy. Sometimes simple is what’s best, but on The Pack A.D.’s new album Do Not Engange simplicity becomes dull and formulaic. By the end of it, you feel like the albums been on repeat the whole time.
Apart from this harsh critique there are some good moments on the album where their attitude and energy translate into some half decent tracks. The album opener “Airborne “ bares some resemblance to Wavves’s track “Nine is God”. Luckily, after a while these similarities fade and what you’re left with is a solid rock track that does a good job of showcasing their style. “Airborne to die,and there’s no human to turn to”, shows off some clever wordplay .
“Big Shot” is a bit more upbeat and lighthearted and incorpates some claps too boot. It conjures up the likes of Ida Maria but never fully resembles the same passion and energy.
“Battering Ram” is a stand out track, where she harnesses her bad girl attitude to deliver a performance full of style and grit. Miller’s high verse vocal is a welcome change from some of the low and monotonous vocals on some of the other tracks. The song has a lot of force behind it with a verse that builds up tension and a trashy chorus that explodes. “Stalking Is Normal” shows some of the bands personality. It has a typical blues riff, but what make it’s noteworthy is its lyrics. She details how she is stalking someone and goes to great lengths to describe it. Taking photos and getting a tattoo’s with their name, while a voice whispers in the background “Should this be normal, completely normal”. It’s a really interesting dynamic and by the end of the song you really see how much of creep she is. She exposes her strange ways and it gives the track a real identity, which a lot of the tracks lack.
“Rocketpowerhouse” is , that shows some of their garage rock
redentials. Micldelivler ers a melodic falsetto vocal< span id="72a1c2c8-6198-43c8-ad99-42a2cc09e54f" class="GINGER_SOFTWARE_mark"> that beautifully sits above a gritty foundation. It is probably the best “song” on the album from beginning to end. The verse is steady and the chorus breaks through at just the right time. “Needles” is a stark comparison to the rest of the album. It’s a melancholy tune that deals with addiction and morality. It’s just the guitar and her voice which makes for a wonderful moment on The LP. “Every breath that I take is a second I cannot replace”, is an achingly beautifal portrait of someone down on their luck. For the shortest track on the album, it certainly leaves the biggest impression.
There are moments here that show the potential that the Pack A.D have with their riff driven garage rock. In some ways they feel outdated, the likes of The Black Keys looked to change their sound with their new record. This album is really more of the same and if you’re a fan of this style then you should check it out. Beyond that, we have seen it all before and there are only one or two moments that come with a twist. Artists with a true old school rock and roll mentality are becoming rarer, but for the Pack A.D they seemed to still be stuck in the past.