A brief history of a weird subsection of modern indie rock and roll
of sorts. I lay a lot more of this than I probably should at the feet
of Dex Romweber and his amazing band Flat Duo Jets.
They were, as far as I can recall, the first real band to play this
guitar and drums only thing in modern music. Their sound was just
as refined and precise as it was agitated and harsh, and they were
doing it at a time when harsh was not welcome, and so were sadly overlooked.
Fast-forward a few years and the burgeoning "indie" scene
gave the world a band called Swearing At Motorists, once more
taking the two man rock band to a place of tasteful noisiness and
sonic acrobatics. Then along came Jack White and things got
a bit louder and less restrained. All the art was bled out of the
two-piece band and instead it became about brute force and a white
distillation of the blues. Next, The Black Keys came along
and actually swung the two-man rock form back to being about the blues,
incorporating more traditional blues licks and feels and less pop-oriented
tunes without all the hub-bub and trashy drum sounds and trashy vocal
sounds. This finally opened the door for any pimple-faced teen that
had a guitar and knew someone that had a 3 piece drum kit in their
basement to form a "band", completely without regard to
what was really necessary to the sound of a rock and roll band.
That said, The Pack a.d. swings in solidly from the White
Stripes' camp in this mystery train of two-man bands, making music
that is trashy and gritty and poppy all at once. The band is made
up of two Canadian girl-type folks who play and sing their hearts
out, burying any sense of finesse under an aural onslaught that might
even make Jack White proud. The guitars are brash and heavy, chugging
away at really excellent rhythm riffs while the drums play fairly
basic patterns and accentuate the beats with vicious attacks on the
cymbals. Becky Black's voice is by no means easy to listen
to, but that is also not what is needed in this music. Her vocals
have a pacing and energy that demands attention from the listener,
imbuing the music with a true punk rock aesthetic that becomes more
and more rare in this day and age of cookie cutter bands.
We Kill Computers is definitely aimed at the younger generation
of music listeners, and features plenty of rhetoric assailing the
current state of music, but will likely appeal to previous generation's
punks as well. The music is full of energy and vigor, with enough
brash charm to make it listenable
and I'll bet you these girls
can fight, too.
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