Four years since The Pack debuted with its unsolicited promo for Vans sneakers — which became an improbable viral hit — the four members have enjoyed several triumphs (record deals, fleeting MTV video airplay). Yet, with every success came a teachable moment: poor album sales; a breakup with Jive; the asinine Twitter feud with New Boyz; the criticism for promoting a brand name. Now, The Pack returns with its second album, a nineteen-track journey into the mind of a 21-year-old with a dissolute lifestyle. It's about what you would expect. Rappers Young L, Stunnaman, Lil B, and Lil Uno spend a little too much time in the club. And when they're not in the club, they're thinking about the club, or perhaps appraising the girls they met at the club, or skeet-skeet-skeeting with a breezy from the club — and not dealing with the consequences.
That said, the beats on Wolfpack Party are fascinating. Largely produced by Young L, they replicate new-wave dance music from the Eighties, but also enhance it. "Dance Floor," "Red Light," and "Make Me Cum" (notice a theme) have the minimalist snare and clap-clap for which The Pack has become famous. "Super Man" incorporates actual chord changes. A lot of songs feature machine-gun drum patterns and electronic bleeps, the sonic palette of artists raised on Xbox and PlayStation. It's likely that Young L doesn't have an elaborate rig — one can orchestrate full tracks on a single software program these days — but he attains a degree of intricacy that belies the nature of his toolset.
Wolfpack Party lives up to its title in many senses. It's perky, vacuous, hedonistic, brimming with lurid pleasures. But many of the beats sound cold and industrial. Perhaps every party has a less-pretty underside. (SMC Recordings)