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Tintype

The Pack A.D.

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Album Review

Like a female version of the White Stripes, the Pack A.D. play a drums 'n' guitar version of the blues that sounds at once minimalist and raucously loud. Mistakes are frequent, riffs are botched, and the percussion is unapologetically messy, which gives this debut a looseness that surprisingly works in its favor. What could otherwise be written off as a mere gimmick ("Hey! Those two girls are playing a predominantly male form of music!") comes across as genuine and heartfelt, taking strength in the tiny flaws that align the album with classic blues records of yesteryear. But while Tintype is certainly authentic, it isn't always good. Becky Black's throaty vocals look for some middle ground between Janis Joplin and Ann Wilson, and her scratched-to-hell wails are the highlight of the disc. When she drops into a lower register, however, Black's soulfulness sounds forced, taking much of the swagger out of the Pack's racket. A duo like this is meant to be heard live, where Black can push her voice to its scratchy limit and Maya Miller's percussion can rattle the audience's beer mugs. The studio simply doesn't suit them at this formative stage in their career, and only a small handful of songs — mostly the three "Hardtrack Saloon" pieces, which sound as though they were recorded at a honky tonk bar during the American West's expansion — make good use of the recording process. The magic is still there, buried somewhere beneath Black's sporadic awkwardness and the potentially incendiary sounds of her guitar, but it doesn't quite come alive on this disc. Here's to hoping for a live album sometime soon.

Customer Reviews

Stripped down punk blues that will kick your spleen in

Take some of the pop and overt cleverness out of The White Stripes and you get The Pack A.D. Brutally raw bluesy sound with enough punk in it to make it jump at you. This isn't self-indulgent blues, it's leap-at-your-throat, feral blues. They seem to have stripped things down to the barest of essentials - just enough of a beat, just enough of a melody, just enough of a hook. It's all there in starvation quantities that leaves me hungry for more.

Real Good Blues

While I agree with previous reviews that The Pack A.D. don't sound exactly like The White Stripes, I have to say that there are similarities beyond the fact that they are a duo. While The Stripes' later albums (especially Get Behind Me Satan) have tended to lean a bit more toward alt than punk blues, their earlier albums (especially their debut and De Stijl) bear a strong likeness, even in the fact that Jack White's voice is much higher and more distorted on those albums. They are basic and raw, much like The Pack A.D. "Broken Bricks" and their cover of "Stop Breaking Down" are good examples of this. The point is, at this point I actually find it pretty difficult to judge the music on its own without referring to The White Stripes or The Black Keys. For me at least, they might need to experiment with their own sound a bit. But I'm looking forward to when they do.

sockless

I listened to these two chicks rock it for quite sometime on their album Funeral Mixtape. Really liked what I heard, reminded me of the Black Keys but more punky and upbeat. Regardless of how rad I thought they were before, I went and saw a live show they put on and they blew my god damn mind. The pub they played at was quite dead and they still rocked it just the same. You have to see them live to fully understand how much of a "I Don't Give A F&%k" attitude they possess. Truly inspiring. Either way go see them live and I guarantee they will rock your funkin' socks off.

Biography

Formed: 2006 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Cana

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Following in the tradition of the Black Keys and the White Stripes, the Pack A.D. play a blend of rock and electric blues. The female duo is comprised of drummer Maya Miller and vocalist/guitarist Becky Black, both of whom left their previous Pixies-styled band to focus on bluesier music. After emerging in 2006 as one of Vancouver's more buzzworthy bands, the Pack A.D. signed with Mint Records in 2007 and released a debut album, Tintype, the following January. Funeral Mixtape, the duo's second offering,...
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Tintype, The Pack A.D.
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