Vancouver punk rock band The Pack A.D.’s last album is eclectic and laidback
By Jonathan Pabico, Contributor
Lead singer Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller are at it again as the famed Canadian punk rock duo from Vancouver. Their newly released album, It was fun while it lasted, creates a melancholic tone with songs that convey how perfect they would be for your upcoming road trip—but also frustration and disappointment about how that chance may not come. The collection helps listeners accept that uncertainty and sets out to immerse you in its cool punk rock beats.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect about this soundtrack is how heavily restrained it is. Make no mistake, the album is still punk rock—yet most of the songs never get too crazy or overly frenetic with their rhythms. Tracks like “Soul Warden” have the typical punk tones yet also offer soothing vocals. Fans can still appreciate these songs while experiencing a different side to the band’s craft.
It was fun while it lasted may be underwhelming to those expecting more from the collection. The album does not surpass The Pack A.D.’s past work like Dollhouse and Do Not Engage, which certainly are more edgy and aggressive. However, it is certainly different from its predecessors. Songs like “Wings” and “Reprogram” feature calmer and slower guitar riffs balanced with simple beats from the drum set. They establish a more relaxing atmosphere that frees you from stress for your afternoons.
One of the band’s admirable traits is how they use their music to explore depression and anxiety. They not only raise awareness about mental illness by doing this, they also make their work more relatable to listeners. In their first song, “Give Up,” Black and Miller employ the lyric “Tell me you’re scared, who cares? We’re all scared somehow.” This part of the song conveys the theme of how everyone has fears and that we are never alone in feeling this way.
Another positive is the band’s eclectic approach in fusing their work with other genres. The last two songs “Check Engine Light” and “The Gap” have country rock undertones with resonating guitar sounds. They also keep a more contained rock aesthetic to end the album, making these tracks a suitable musical score for a punk western film. Black and Miller bravely employ different undertones so that anyone can be satisfied by their diverse musical tastes.
Moreover, Black and Miller perform some tracks like “Gas Station Food” that transform into music you might hear at a Halloween rock concert. This piece excels with rollicking dynamics through Miller’s more reserved drum beat to better foreground Black’s thrilling vocals. The song evokes a spooky atmosphere without losing its punk flair.
Overall, It was fun while it lasted is enjoyable to listen to and provides some solace for fans, despite not surpassing the band’s previous work. If you are looking for more straightforward and aggressive punk rock, then the band’s currently released music may disappoint you. The Pack A.D.’s album offers songs worthy of joining your personal playlist for 2020.