Published Jun 10, 2016When the band's name is a child's onomatopoeia for gunfire, it's a safe bet that their music won't be winning any awards for artful wordplay. Not that Toronto pop-punkers Pkew Pkew Pkew would want to, anyway — the band expressly eschew any pretensions to artiness.
Song titles on their self-titled sophomore album reference drinking, skating, assholes and general revelry, and the lyrics tackle those subjects in the most literal sense. That they're delivered gang vocal-style throughout the album's punchy 22-minute runtime only underscores the band's intentions. Pkew Pkew Pkew finds the band picking up on themes first introduced on their debut, but here, everything — including three rerecorded tracks from that first album — are amped up to 11 and kicked into hyper-drive.
While that reads like the soundtrack for a night of smashing tall cans with your best buds — which it most certainly is — what's remarkable is the amount of nuance and pathos baked into these tracks. On the surface, lines like "Let's stay in the minors, where we can hit well even when we're drunk," from "The Prime Minister of Defence," is a simple celebration of beer league baseball, but buried in there is an acknowledgement that there is plenty of meaning to life's smaller moments, especially if your friends are there to enjoy them with you. There is something Springsteen-esque about that sentiment, making Pkew Pkew Pkew the redheaded stepchild of the Gaslight Anthem and Titus Andronicus.
All of which is to say that the second time out, Pkew Pkew Pkew have mastered playing dumb, elevating it to an artform. Although they may have inadvertently subverted their raison d'être in the process, it's hard to argue with a record that's this much fun. (Royal Mountain Records)