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Positive Thinking
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  • Continually hard-working Canadian guitar-and-drums duo the Pack A.D. continue to distance themselves from their early blues-rock roots on their muscular, dark-hued sixth LP, Positive Thinking. Recorded in their hometown of Vancouver by longtime producer and collaborator Jesse Gander, this set is as noisy and powerful as anything in their catalog, with a strict punk ethos and some increasingly ferocious guitar work from singer/guitarist Becky Black. More personal than prior releases, the cheekily titled Positive Thinking explores themes of depression, sorrow, ageism, and fear, revealing both vulnerability and defiance both in its tone and lyrics. Black and drummer Maya Miller have always produced a lot of sound, but from the start here they crackle with energy, beginning with powerhouse opener "So What" and hard-driving standout "Teenage Crime." "Anyway," another early album highlight, pits a moody wall of sound against Black and Miller's lush harmonies on what is one of the album's most appealing and melodic songs. Elsewhere, they apply themselves to more of a garage punk sound on crunchy rockers like "Yes I Know" and "Los Angeles," and even delve into slower, dirgey fare like the subtly pulsing "Sorrow." Most impressive, however, is closing statement "Fair Enough," a two-chord wonder with a snaky melody, some fantastic guitar work, and a savage punk crescendo capping off the end. Following 2014's similarly impressive Do Not Engage, the Pack A.D. are on a roll, producing some of the strongest material of their ten-year career. ~ Timothy Monger
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