In 2021, Toronto/Ottawa's PACKS released their debut album Take The Cake on Fire Talk Records. Led by songwriter Madeline Link, the band's debut proved to be one of the more celebrated debuts of the pandemic, earning praise from The FADER, who compared their "reluctantly anthemic slacker rock" to Pavement and Speedy Ortiz, and outlets like Stereogum, NYLON, Paste, BrooklynVegan, NME, Gorilla vs Bear and Bandcamp, who called the LP "the sound of classic indie rock as delivered by a promising new voice." The following year saw extensive touring in the US and Canada, seeing the band share stages with Polyvinyl signees Good Morning, as well as like-mined Fire Talk label mates Wombo & Mamalarky, and the release their stripped down WOAH EP in the summer.

Today, PACKS have returned to announce their sophomore LP, Crispy Crunchy Nothing (out March 31st on Fire Talk), an album that focuses the laid back appeal of the band's debut while finding a new emotional register. To mark the announce they're sharing the album's first single "4th of July" and it's accompanying video.

PACKS' "4th of July" video on

It's title taken from Link's description of biting into a moldy apple, the album is a collection of bright, imaginative vignettes of loneliness, yearning and confusion, under-pinned by Link’s distinct sense of humour. Burnout, dead-end jobs, bike theft, stress dreams, heartbreak — PACKS move forward through them all one line, one lick, one beat at a time, channelling Alex G’s whimsy and pairing them with Helvetia’s thunderous dynamics. Composed of songs written between Toronto, Ottawa and Mexico City (while Madeline completed a papier-mâché residency), it's an album that explores the tension between independence and isolation, between living life to the fullest and feeling like you’re wasting your time.

With it's hazy and shuffling feel under Link's mumbled, but deceptively acrobatic vocal melody "4th of July" is immediately recognizable as a PACKS song, and it might also be one of their best. The band's easy charm remains intact, but the track displays a newfound dexterity as PACKS stealthily build an arrangement full of subtle flourishes that accentuate the inscrutable resonance of Link's delivery of the song's final chorus.

"Sometimes it feels like all I have are questions," says Link. "What can I do if I don't understand something? Write a song about it! The 4th of July is a celebration that sums up a lot of questions I have about how we like to live today in this glorious year of 2023.

"For the video I was excited to work with Sam and Alex from Breathe because they were so gung ho about shooting on film! I knew I wanted to make a bunch of creepy paper mache masks and include some occultish vibery. I drove myself nuts making the masks, but we had a fun day out in the golden horseshoe, dressing up like funky creeps! My Own Private Idaho vibes!

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