By Keir Nicoll
VANCOUVER – Becky Black and Maya Miller have been performing together as the Pack A.D. for more than 10 years now and following the release of their ninth studio album, Dollhouse, the fearless guitar/drums duo are tearing down the proverbial walls.
“I think it’s more of a larger concept,” says guitarist/vocalist Black, speaking to the name of their new album. “We all live in a tiny cacophony of our own minds and that can be like a restrictive dollhouse.”
The first song off Dollhouse is entitled “Woke Up Weird,” a gritty self-aware blues-rock romp. “I wake up weird every day,” Black says. “Waking up weird is kind of normal.”
The Pack’s concept goes beyond the everyday weird, as Black and Miller (drums) speak to the larger, universal strangeness of life on Dollhouse—the kind of big questions that can keep you up at night with themes of darkness, gloom and death.
“Our music is dark,” Black says. “We have a sense of humour about the conflicts and things that are surrounding us as artists, yet as artists we tend to gloomify things, so everything can end up being a little darker.” So there is a balance and a paradox, which also contributes to the overall weirdness of the band.
It is all well presented on Dollhouse, where there is a jarring contrast between the duo as 3D characters against a 2D backdrop of a dollhouse on the album’s artwork. This creates a darkly comedic effect, as Black and Miller look by turns perplexed.
As it turns out, the upcoming show at the Rickshaw will be the Pack A.D.’s last, for a long time to come. This duo has played many shows at many venues around the world over the course of their nine album career. Black reveals, as words of adieu, that “I hope that everyone who wants to see us in this city comes out, because we’re in a flux state in this band. I guess we’re in a flux state every other month and we’re not there but then we’ll be back. But probably, speaking in all seriousness, this will be the last time we play for a long time.”
The Pack A.D. perform December 8 at the Rickshaw Theatre.Rickshaw Theatre, The Pack AD