New Music | Friday Roll Out: PACKS


The fact that PACKS, the project of one Madeline Link, has escaped me for the past couple of years shouldn’t come as a surprise. I mean, we were dealing with lockdowns, shelter in place, all the result of Covid. In the time that followed, PACKS managed to release some singles and a couple of albums. Truth be told, a number of artists went undiscovered or ignored for whatever reason, and now here we are, about to unpack PACKS third full-length(?) Melt The Honey (Fire Talk Records).

Apparently, the recording of this album was done with the same group of musicians Link has worked with since 2021’s Take The Cake debut. Now this information is relevant because it enables all musicians to hone their skills through time/repetition and allows them to form a cohesiveness not many are offered.

Link has a laconic vocal delivery, and while it’s reminiscent – somewhat – of a J. Mascis or a Troy Von Balthazar, it isn’t. It’s just part of the process of composing songs for PACKS. What does this tell you about Melt The Honey though? Not a whole hell of a lot but we’ll get to that. The music itself seems to fall directly in line with Link’s vocal delivery sometimes slow going like on the opener “89 Days” as it drips with sweet cooing melodies. It’s weird how the song’s delivery as a whole is lazy but just so intriguing. The same approach meanders throughout Pearly Whites as distorted guitar feedback hums in and out but captivates as it moves alongside the melodies within. This isn’t to say PACKS is incapable of rocking out with pop sensibilities in an unfunctionally oddly distorted world. “HFCS” wraps its driving rhythm with a wall of guitar that doesn’t let up as Link sings about high fructose corn syrupy sweetness. After this we get the sense the world is open for PACKS.

Clocking in at just over 2 minutes, the “AmyW” instrumental is sheer pleasure, brimming with vitality with watery guitars over the free-flowing rhythm and stormy fronts. Vocals would probably do the track an injustice since it isn’t required. Here is where the band shines. But PACKS has stumbled into its own with a formula that can’t be duplicated as Link drags out her words which we’re able to hear thoroughly on “Her Garden,” as the band takes hold of a rhythm and never lets it go although the transitions are beautifully sublime while guitars glisten amongst the moonlight.

What’s to become of PACKS? I’m not the one who can answer that, only Madeline Link is, and the world seems to be an open canvas for her to see what comes next. Melt The Honey, with all its lo-fi aesthetics sprawling throughout, is a cleverly worked album full of expression and creativity. I’m more than willing to bet PACKS’ impact will continue to etch its name in the continuum of music.