Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Here's a theory for you: A two-piece band has the capability to be exponentially stranger than does a four-piece band. We base this theory on the idea that if you're just two people, out touring the world, stuck in vans together for hours and hours and hours, there's no way of escaping each other. You're stuck and this can only mean you'll both start talking differently, adopting the voices of fictitious characters who suddenly become the fall-back sounds when you need to depict a nerd or a stuffy, official sounding authoritarian, etc. You begin to co-op each other's oddest traits and interests, developing some process of finding conspiracy in everything, getting randomly caught up in an insular blender, where everything you're doing is done together and the disconnect doesn't exist any longer. It is one outfit and things get kooky. The Pack A.D., a two-piece band from Vancouver, British Columbia, is a group that's likely had its heads melted together, it's thoughts distorted and rung enough to seem like one blobbish thought stream, to a point where it must feel like one cohesive distortion. They might wonder what's what, in a haze of togetherness that leaves them helplessly living out the same dreams and nightmares about being chased through the spooky forest, or having your hands full of mythical chopped wood, like some old Foo Fighters video. There are beasts on the hunt, beasts who just want to be friends and certain modes of death all through the group's new record "We Kill Computers," but these images are just the coping mechanisms that help singer and guitarist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller get through these longish days and survive the mental instabilities that they put themselves through in such limited company. Well, it's a theory, at least. The songs on the album don't seem to have much to do with executing technological contraptions, but all of the people dotting the landscape of the songs are being threatened by this, that and the other thing, getting trapped in a place where the lights have been cut. There's thrashing and dirty blues representing the inner turmoil and then there are the songs like "They Know Me," which embrace the familiarity, the déjà vu of the places and people that are being rediscovered. Black and Miller primarily stomp through these swampy and rip-snorting stories of alienation, the onset of insanity and an inability to get out of harm's way, and they do little to diminish the fear in these thoughts. For the two Canadians though, it seems as if they've reasoned with themselves that this perilous path of day to night and all of the bumps in between is going to lead everyone in the same general direction so it might be a better idea to just get comfortably numb. Black sings, "We all know as everything goes and as everyone knows that it all ends up crazy/Like a shark, you keep moving forward/It's not sink or swim/It's always swim or die," and so we're swimming our arms off, getting crazier with every stroke.