Garage rock has a bad name, probably because of the legion of bands that made "stripped down" a synonym for "sanitized" in the early 2000s. As a microgenre, it's become less Stooges and more Strokes. That's a shame, since garage rock at its best can produce that inventiveness born of limitation.
The Pack A.D. is garage rock at its best. As a two-member band—singer/guitarist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller—they must get the maximum sound from minimal resources, and on Unpersons they do it well. Songs like "Rid of Me" are loud and snarling, with a driving tempo that encourages the listener to fill in whatever holes might turn up in the arrangements. Much of the energy is attributable to Black, whose voice alternates between soulful and snide as occasion dictates.
Snide is better, and The Pack A.D. does more with loud and fast than with heavy and slow. Songs like "Seasick" can succumb to the forced heaviness that undid The White Stripes, but on the whole Unpersons is vital. It's rock as big, noisy catharsis, and it reminds us that the garage is one of the more fun rooms in the house.
The Pack A.D. plays the Badlander Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 9 PM with Cobra Skulls and The Be Helds. $8/$13 for 18- to 20-year-olds.