Packs - Crispy Crunchy Nothing LP (neon magenta vinyl)
Packs - Crispy Crunchy Nothing LP (Fire Talk/USA)
Neon magenta vinyl,
Written by Erin O
Important, the top right corner of these LPs carry a tiny, barely visible ding. If you are someone who demands a pristine jacket, you should not purchase this LP.
Listening notes: PACKS keeps going with its Breeders-meets-Fake Fruit-meets-Pavement fuzzy alt. rock on their sophomore full length, Crispy Crunchy Nothing. With the languid delivery of lyrics like "I have no idea what's happening right now/ no fucking clue what's going on right now/ I don't know, I don't know," letting the vocal fry happen in on the original it happens, any of these songs would fit right in on the "Daria" soundtrack.
Mood: Laying on a freshly mowed suburban lawn while cloud shadows pass overhead
Crispy Crunchy Nothing puts to rest any notion Madeline had about finding the end. Burnout, dead-end jobs, bike theft, stress dreams, heartbreak — PACKS move forward through them all one line, one lick, one beat at a time, equal parts Alex G’s whimsy and Helvetia’s thunderous dynamics. Sticking together songs written in Toronto, Ottawa and Mexico City (while Madeline completed a papier-mâché residency), Crispy Crunchy Nothing revisits the fuzzy alt-rock of 2021 debut Take the Cake and adds some folksy twang to the mix for an album that explores the tension between independence and isolation, between living life to the fullest and feeling like you’re wasting your time.
Madeline reunited with bandmates Dexter Nash (lead guitar), Noah O’Neil (bass) and Shane Hooper (drums, backup vocals) for a weeklong recording retreat at a cabin on Lac Sarrazin in rural Quebec that they dubbed the Trout House, where the quartet bashed out all of the album’s 14 tracks and where the sauna doubled as nightly ritual and recording booth. After spending 18 months fleshing out demos over a Google Drive folder, uncertain of the band’s IRL future, the week was propelled by the kinetic energy of old friends reuniting in person, making sense of the smorgasbord of gear they crammed into the cabin.
And while the specter of death looms over Crispy Crunchy Nothing and its brisk, folk-rock vignettes of loneliness, yearning and confusion, so too does Madeline’s sense of humour. It’s bone-dry, tucked within her drawling vocals, and buried beneath guitars that alternately sneer and twang. But it’s there, the album’s beating heart — a sense of purpose and unflinching resolve evident even in its title, taken from Madeline’s description of biting into a moldy apple.