Toronto based Pkew Pkew Pkew are set to release their new album Optimal Lifestyles today, 1st March. The pop-punk group have released an album with many of the classic pop-punk influences, such as Reel Big Fish and Sum 41, but with a more grown up twist.
Opening track Still Hanging Out After All These Years is a short, energetic track to really grab the listener's attention. Second track I Don't Matter At All follows in a similar vein. The theme of this track is more about being a cog in the machine, rather than mattering to a specific person. It blends almost seamlessly into the next track, Point Break, which is written in the same key, with the same chord progression, with just a few seconds pause between the two tracks. However, Point Break boasts the addition of a saxophone to really bring back the old ska-punk sound.
Point Break also blends into Drinking Days via the guitar, however these two tracks are much less similar than before. Drinking Days, and also to an extent Everything's The Same, also address a larger cultural problem: alcohol abuse. Other tracks like these are smattered throughout the album: Not Getting Through To You describes feeling like you're hitting your head against a wall trying to explain something to someone.
Another deep issue tackled with Optimal Lifestyles is the rising cost of living, particularly in 65 Nickels. The Polynesian follows this theme with lyrics about poor services in a hotel, indicating that basic comfort costs much more than it used to. There is an air of reminiscence about the entire album, some tracks complaining about life now and then others giving a feeling of nostalgia. Pkew Pkew Pkew manage to bring these two themes together into a wonderfully fast paced album.
Musically, the album is nothing overly special but the lyrical themes will resonate with a lot of people, whether they are teenagers or fully fledged adults, gaining Pkew Pkew Pkew fans the world over.