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Chutzpah! Festival Celebrates Diversity With Multifaceted International Programming

Chutzpah! Festival Celebrates Diversity With Multifaceted International Programming

by Yasmine Shemesh In Hebrew, chutzpah means “brazen audacity.” As such, it’s fitting that the term would be the namesake…

The Pack AD examine the spectra of human burden with the magic of probing

Monday 14th, November 2016 / 14:03
By Kristina Charania
The Pack AD never met a mood they couldn't pick apart and leave naked on a slab. Photo: Rebecca Blissett

The Pack AD never met a mood they couldn’t pick apart and leave naked on a slab.
Photo: Rebecca Blissett

VANCOUVER — Rule #1 of the best friend and bandmate codebook: when asked to strip naked and be filmed while tied to a cold, hard surface for half a day, one must always oblige. This rule is particularly true when you’re local badass duo The Pack AD, and you have a knack for creating wicked music videos.

Take the science-fiction inspired video for “So What” – the first single off of the band’s latest offering, Positive Thinking – which starts with green alien hands examining vocalist and guitarist Becky Black on a surgery table with lighting wands. Eventually, these aliens pierce her neck with thick-needled gnarly syringes that look as if they’re covered in extraterrestrial earwax. (Yum!)

“I think this video was [drummer] Maya’s idea, and…well, I don’t know why I agreed to it,” chuckles Black. “The studio we were in [for the video] also had really high ceilings, so it never heated up in there. I had a wet sheet draped over me for a couple of hours and shivered a lot.”

“But, I love the video,” Black concludes. “Science fiction just gets me. I’ll always be a fan.”

Despite its title, Positive Thinking is easily the band’s darkest release to date. It’s also the most methodic of their six albums, with polished song infrastructure that extinguish the wild guitar riffs, pounding drum lines, and fuck-you attitude that define the band.

Together, the album’s eleven songs act as a lens focusing on the spectra of human burden: cases of quietly aching depression, lethargy, biting loneliness, suffocating and monotonous jobs. Highlights include the pulsing rage of “Yes I Know” and ’90s grunge of “Skin Me”, whose lyrics ooze apathy (I’m made of metal/plastic heart/attack my mind) and complement Black’s droning, sung-through-gritted-teeth vocals.

From late October through the end of November, the band is touring – pissing rain, post cards to fans, and thrift store pit stops included – in Canada and the US with a small string of shows in France and Germany. Fittingly, their hometown show is their last one. “I’m looking forward to sleeping in for a week, playing some video games, and then doing holiday stuff [after touring],” says Black. “Hopefully, it’ll be nice and relaxing and not terribly, I don’t know, cold. I might be working on some material over the winter and recording too, but who knows. Nothing’s set yet.”

Catch the Pack AD at Sugar Nightclub (Victoria) November 25 and Fortune Sound Club (Vancouver) November 26.

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