With three acclaimed EPs and constant inclusion on ‘Ones to Watch’ lists (ours at the start of the year was one of them), the hype is definitely surrounding Like Pacific. They’ve just released debut full-length Distant Like You Asked and the wait has definitely been a long one for fans, especially those who have been there from the quintet’s inception in 2009.
Distant Like You Asked is pop punk, but prominently lies more on the punk side of that spectrum. The raspy vocals from Jordan Black have a lot to do with this, and they give every track on here an edge that could probably draw blood if you touched it. It’s far from mundane in terms of style, especially in Distant, which drips with emotion and vulnerability behind the furiously aggressive delivery. But in terms of variety, there’s not much to say. In fact, the whole vibe Like Pacific are displaying here does get a bit stale. Upon listening to the album in full it’s probably hard to stay focused enough to not let a song or two (such as Commitment and Hang in the record’s second half) slip through the net.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the formula that’s being used here; it’s probably going to work well for the Canadians in the long run, as shown in huge opener Richmond, which could well be the poster song for their ‘stay pissed’ mantra. It’s just that it’s overused and there’s not much room for negotiation in terms of mixing things up. Assisted Breathing is probably the only song on Distant Like You Asked that uses a properly catchy hook (in an obvious way, anyway), and the execution shows the genuine potential that got Like Pacific on all those ‘Ones to Watch’ lists. Chine Drive explores the higher octaves Black can reach and also stands out for all the right reasons. But the lack of hooks and ridiculously raspy vocals make any lyrics impossible to understand, especially on Worthless Case, so they’re easy to gloss over.
The exasperating thing is that tracks on here could easily win people over if they were played by themselves. No song on Distant Like You Asked is poor by any standards of the genre they belong to, it’s just that the bulk of the album sounds too similar to truly be able to appreciate. 22a is illustrative of this. It blends into the background slightly in comparison to other choices on offer, but set aside from everything else it shines. But while it perhaps takes more than a few listens to see what each song has to offer, it’s definitely easier to give up on the whole endeavour, which is what a lot of people will probably end up doing.
It’s a shame, really, because there is talent coming out of this band’s ears. But being unable to separate most of the songs on an album is far from ideal, and that’s exactly what Distant Like You Asked is trying to get its listeners to do. Like Pacific need to dig a bit deeper on album number two, because regardless of talent, indistinguishable songs just aren’t going to make the grade.
For fans of: Knuckle Puck, Handguns, The Story So Far
Words by Georgia Jackson
‘Distant Like You Asked’ by Like Pacific is released on 19th February on Pure Noise Records.