Album of the Day: Pkew Pkew Pkew, “Pkew Pkew Pkew”

Entertain the plausibility of the following opinions: Japandroids songs take too long to get to the “whoa”s, and the group chanting is the best part of any PUP song, so they should be doing that all the time. Diarrhea Planet should cut their songs down to two minutes, tops. Black Flag’s most important track is “TV Party,” and it truly became significant only after it aired on Beavis and Butthead. Andrew WK should have to sing about pizza if he’s going to have a pizza guitar.

These aren’t opinions actually held by Pkew Pkew Pkew, but their self-titled debut operates on those principles. The Toronto quartet is frighteningly serious about ditching everything that gets in the way of the things that make rock viscerally exciting (hooks, riffs, harmonized guitar solos), the things that tempt people to consider rock music as something cerebral and serious.

But lest this be confused with punk boosterism: Pkew Pkew Pkew are aware that hyper-hooky songs about skateboarding, drinking, pizza, getting drunk before you go out drinking, and eating pizza after you go out drinking tends to be the domain of a likewise hyper-masculine (read: bro) audience. Pkew Pkew Pkew’s sing-alongs have the express purpose of tricking these people into shouting out admissions of their own flawed behavior, whether it’s high-fivin’ MF’s (“Stop Calling Us Chief”), washed-up jocks (“Glory Days”), or even Pkew Pkew Pkew themselves. Immediately after pissing off every person in their apartment complex on “Asshole Pandemic,” “Prequel to Asshole Pandemic” sets out the band’s origin story and their admirable goals: annoying their neighbors and writing only about the few things they actually care about (“we’ll sing about beer and football!”). Maybe they’re a genre of one, but Pkew Pkew Pkew have created the magna carta of antisocial party music.

Ian Cohen

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