Vancouver's the Pack A.D. have chemistry for days. Drummer Maya Miller and singer/guitarist Becky Black have been a band for over 10 years, and can conjure up enough power to overwhelm groups twice their size. As evidence: 2016's Positive Thinking showed a group able to strike a sweet spot between catchy and powerful, whose hooks lodged themselves in your brain as you were blown away by power chords and crash cymbals.
Now, just a year later, their seventh record Dollhouse reminds us there's another key ingredient to success as a rock duo: the element of surprise. And unfortunately, that's lacking here.
Dollhouse is here and gone in a heartbeat, not even cracking the 30-minute mark, and as a result, there's not much opportunity for the songs to dig a little deeper; just as things feel like they're starting to get interesting, you're on to the next track. There's no chance for them to stick, and there's not enough new to make them memorable. Some tracks — like "Does it Feel Good," with Black's echoing vocal performance — show potential for compelling songs, but they fail to capitalize on this potential throughout the record.
We've heard progression from the Pack A.D. before, but listening to Dollhouse makes you think of the record that could have been, and ways the band could have evolved instead of sticking to the formula. (Cadence Music Group)