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The Pack a.d.
We Kill Computers
Mint Records
www.thepackafterdeath.com


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.

-Embo Blake

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