It's not surprising that the Pack A.D. are trying to distance themselves from their lo-fi blues-punk roots. Being a guitar/drums duo left them too open to the inevitable White Stripes/Black Keys comparisons, even if they never really sounded much like either. However, moving toward a sound closer to 90s alt rock isn't really the best fit for their talents and makes for an album that's as frustrating as it is good.
They've clearly decided to go bigger now that they've moved up to Nettwerk, and sure enough, singer/guitarist Becky Black's choruses sound grander than ever. The production (thanks to Jim Diamond) also sounds more radio-ready, but the increased crispness makes the looseness of Maya Miller's drums far more distracting than it used to be, and everything is far too cold. However, when the studio techniques result in intriguing post-punk weirdness on songs like The Water, the change in direction makes far more sense.
Top track: The Water
The Pack A.D. play the Horseshoe March 8.