Album review: Open Bar – Pkew Pkew Pkew
Open Bar is the latest album from Canadian punk-rockers Pkew Pkew Pkew, released mid-May of 2022. Pkew x 3 plays punk towards the more poppy end of the spectrum, with some indie influences here and there and sometimes with a bit of a stoner feeling. I’ve never actively listened to these guys before, this is the first album from them that I’ve listened to from start to end. With that said I won’t be able to do that much comparisons to the band’s previous work.
This album mixes both high and low in the songs, mixing a little bit more serious topics with just pure fun ones. Opener Let the bridges we burn light the way is more towards the former, a pretty soft opening that picks up speed after about a minute, but still maintains a mid-tempo. It’s a nice track both lyrically and musically. Second track Mom’s Dime showcases the more stoner side of the band, being about having a drug problem, on mom’s dime on top of that. A bit of a mid-tempo and pretty laid back in the verses.
Maybe Someday has a pretty strong pop-punk feeling but also pretty serious lyrics about decisions made when younger and the consequences of those, and how it gets harder to correct when becoming older. This is among the more serious songs lyrically together with Safety Last, A different Jimmy and Stick to your guns, Pookie. Even to they might be on the more serious side that is said relatively to other songs on the record. They might not dwell too deep on the emotional side of things however, and often favors big gang-choruses on the anthemic side of the scale.
There’s definitely songs that shows the more pure fun side of the band, kind of clustered in the middle of the record. Mr. Meowers is a hatesong to a cat, and it’s the most catchy song on the whole album. I can take silly lyrics when I just become happy hearing a song. Fresh Pope is a song about getting a new fresh pope, catchy mid-tempo and not to be taken too seriously. Beer Stick ‘n’ Ched is a Canadian traditional beer sausage that comes in a package with some premium Bothwell Cheddar Cheese (I had no idea, a websearch told me this). A perfectly fine thing to write a song about isn’t it. It’s a pretty catchy tune so I’m in.
This is a record that won’t win any awards or rock the world for most people, but perhaps because we’re going towards summer I find myself liking it way more than I thought I would by just looking at the tracklist. As long as the expectations are set at a correct level, and one goes in with a fun mentality this is a catchy album with pretty well written and catchy songs, even though the lyrics often end up on the little bit more silly side. It’s a nice break from the more political punkrock and definitely fills a function at least in my album rotation. Other reviewers are probably better equipped to say if this is an album that is a step forward och backward for the band, for me it’s just a fun first acquaintance to the band.