Pkew Pkew Pkew are a rock quartet from Toronto who have etched a name for themselves within their respective scene over their six-year tenure as a group. Through multiple releases and opening slots on tours for acts such as Anti-Flag, as well as label-mates The Flatliners, their newest release, Optimal Lifestyles, sees them pushing to establish themselves across North America as a heavyweight in the new sound of rock.
Optimal Lifestyles is packed with the familiar dance-y, pop-punk sound that has become a staple of the Ontario punk-rock scene, so you know what you’re getting into when you put this record on. This is not to be misconstrued as a point of criticism, however, especially for those who regularly consume this style of music.
This album is very well written and quite a bit of fun to listen to. Tracks like “65 Nickels” and “The Polynesian” are bound to be crowd pleasers live with their crowd-friendly choruses and upbeat instrumentation, while “Point Break” features a tasteful saxophone solo very early into the record.
A big part of the appeal of this album is the timing of its release, which is damn near perfect. Released on March 1, the time of the year when the relentlessly cold weather begins to show cracks, the ice begins to melt and you start to feel more comfortable leaving your home.
“We haven’t hung out in a long time, so let’s get hanging” are the first words heard on the first track, “Still Hangin’ Out After All These Years,” and can easily be heard as a wake up call to those who felt confined to their spaces of comfort by a winter season that felt as if it took years off their lives.
Pkew Pkew Pkew’s newest release gives optimism for the future, near and far. For many, Optimal Lifestyles will signal the end of winter and the start of outdoor skateboard-related mischief past the sunset into the morning.
I’m excited to see where this album takes this band, who it reaches, and who it connects with, because for Winnipeggers like myself, this is the perfect album to listen to right now.
By Daniel Kussy
Published in Volume 73, Number 21 of The Uniter (March 14, 2019)