Positive Thinking is a hell of a name for an album that deals with depression, anxiety and all of the dark emotions in between. In the press release for the album, The Pack A.D.’s drummer Maya Miller describes the album as one their most personal, saying “Positive Thinking explores the numbing day-to-day routine of depression and the fantastical ways that we look to mask it from ourselves and others. “The lyrics on this album are probably more personal to us than on any other record we’ve done.” For a band on their sixth album, it’s probably not surprising that it sounds like the most self-assured piece of music that the band has ever put out – even when you factor in the subject material. It might have been the lengthy writing and recording process they introduced for the recording of Positive Thinking; taking two years and multiple sessions with longtime producer Jesse Gander (White Lung, Japandroids) to get to the final product.
Where their last album (2014’s Do Not Engage) might have introduced a slightly poppier and more radio-friendly version of The Pack A.D., Positive Thinking brings some grit back into their thundering blues-tinged garage rock. Moments like album opener “So What” and the droning “Fair Enough” are enough to make you wonder at the fact that The Pack A.D. is a guitar-and-drums duo. The Southern rock-influenced “Teenage Crime” is a standout for me, with it’s snarling guitar riffs and earworm of a hook in the chorus. The cheeky reference to Bauhaus on that track is probably my favourite moment on the whole record. On “Skin Me”, Becky Black’s vocals evoke the best of Grunge-era vocals over a heavily distorted riff and steady, plodding drum beats.
Like most garage rock, this is music that’s meant to be heard in a dark bar with sticky floors. The great news? The Pack A.D. will be hitting both Toronto (10/20) and Montreal (10/21) on their upcoming tour. Full dates and ticket information can be found here.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Cadence Music Group
Must-Listen Tracks: “So What”, “Teenage Crime”, “Skin Me”
Buy Positive Thinking on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/positive-thinking/id1107082788