Okay, so we’re at the point where it’s redundant to mention pop-punk ain’t isn’t exactly what it used to be. Blink-182, Green Day, something something , yadda yadda yadda, get off my lawn.
Aaaaanyway, in a world that seems increasingly devoid of anything worth listening to, particularly if you’re a fan of a certain age, along come Pkew Pkew Pkew to restore at least a tidbit of faith in the musical stylings of the current class of up-and-comers.
The Ontario-based quartet are, by no stretch of the imagination, reinventing the proverbial wheel. But you know what? When you’re buying wheels for your car, you don’t necessarily need one that’s been reinvented. You need one that’s solid and sturdy and will get you where you need to go and is going to perform well and will hopefully make your car fun and enjoyable to drive in the process. (Editor’s question: did I take that analogy too far? I did, didn’t I?)
Pkew Pkew Pkew’s self-titled debut LP is due out June 10th on Royal Mountain Records, and let me tell you kids, it’s a ripper. The eleven-song album starts out fast with “Blood Clot,” an 87-second face-punch of a song about, well, about blood clots. Which, as it turns out, aren’t that big a deal if they take place in your muscles, but if you get one in a vein you’re pretty much hosed. At least, that’s the gist of it. I’m assuming the foursome know that information because of Canada’s universal healthcare system, but I digress.
Moving right along, “Blood Clot” is followed in consecutive order by the awesomely-titled “Asshole Pandemic” and “Prequel to Asshole Pandemic,” both of which tell of the trials and tribulations of apartment living; the former finds our protagonists upset at the voracity with which a neighbor conducts his sexual affairs (“I can hear you two floors down…all your fucking up there is pissing us off”) while the latter conveys the lack of fucks given by those same protagonists when starting their loud rock band in said apartment building (“if the other tenants care then fuck ’em…we got a rock band here!”). “Mid 20’s Skateboarder” tells a tale of…you guessed it…a mid-20’s skateboarder trying to relive the glory days without causing severe catastrophic injuries.
From there, the lyrical content of most of the remaining songs is pretty well-represented by their titles: “Hangin’ Out” is about drinking beer with your friends; “Let’s Order A Pizz” is not about much more than ordering a pizza; “Before We Got Out Drinking” is an ode to getting drunk before going out drinking, hella important when you’re a broke punk band. Things do get a little deeper and more introspective on songs like “Kathie Lee and Hoda” and “Glory Days,” the latter of which perfectly sums up the douchebaggery present among every town’s high school heroes who seem content to never leave home.
There’s a brutal simplicity to the lyrics on the bulk of the tracks that, to make a very local reference, reminds me of a pop-punk Darkbuster; content to sing about having a good time and not taking itself too seriously in the process. One of the more interesting features present on Pkew Pkew Pkew is the gang vocals; 95% of the album — not probably statistically accurate but it seems that way — features all four band members singing in unison for the duration, nary a pretentious frontman in sight, that only serve to enhance the enjoyability and infectious humor on every song. The rhythms are toe-tappingly tight from the first listen, and serve as the proverbial backbones for one instantly hummable melody after another. All of the good times above equate to an incredibly fun party of an album that warrants many a repeat listen in rapid succession because it’s just that goddamn catchy.