Good music is visceral. It’s intoxicating. It resonates. It’s what the band PK rocks on stage with infectious energy and of all things, an unapologetic retort. Like a bunch of punk rockers… only they’re not punk and they’re not indie either. They’re sort of this amalgamation of different genres, like the missing link between the Shins and the Killers with a cocky AFI flare. The sound is so unique and universal at the same time that one can’t help but to stop… and listen.
And then the beat kicks in as drummer, Rico Rodriguez keeps time and intensity like an old pro, and all of a sudden your body’s moving, your head’s nodding, and you’re swaying to the back beat of “Berelain,” one of PK’s most piquant tracks. Check the lyrics, “How long must I wait… Oh I can’t take the spot light off ya now… ” It might as well be a self proclamation of what’s to come for a band that is on the verge of stardom and discovery. “Here she comes now, knockin’ on my door…” Their abilities far exceed the venues they play… which is to say that they can command the attention of an entire arena. It’s only a matter of time. And to their credit, PK is being patient with finding the right record label. As Bass player, Mikel Van Kranenburg (Vk) said at a show in Pacific Beach in March, “..we don’t want to sign with just anyone.” The sentiment is echoed by the entire band and IMHO, rightfully so.
And as the music keeps on, it’s with a boyish charm that helmer Travis Hawley rocks his vox on stage. His presence is powerful and pleading at the same time. He touts a charisma that is one part british politeness, one part american confidence and two parts mischief… undertones that fall right in line with sing-a-long tracks like “Evana Carina” and “London.” Mikel Vk’s tight bass line for the latter is the perfect compliment to Hawley’s punkish crooning and part of the reason that its a favorite of my ten-year old daughter. Yes, PK is for all ages and they are ready for a record deal. And it has everything to do with smart lyrics, Hawley’s clean voice (a recordable gem), Rodriguez’s angstful, straight forward, drum beat, Vk’s honest, steady bass line, and guitar rockers Nick Fotinakes and Matt DePauw with their delectably mad exchanges on the strings. Their riffs play compliment to Rodgriguez’s fills making each track feel more like an event than simply the next song on the album.
So who are PK? What does the name stand for? Penalty Kicks? Preachers Kids? An online gamers abbreviation for Player Kill? Alas, no… There is more to the name than a simple abbreviation. When asked, Hawley noted that they like the mystery surrounding the name but that it’s origin comes from the story The Power of One about a South African boxer named Peekay. In the novel, Peekay exudes an endearing vulnerability and sense of humor that makes it easy for readers to identify with. Not a far cry from the likability PK the band projects from the stage that allows new and existing fans alike to connect with them. So perhaps PK are a band of pop-punkish lyrical pugilists rocking music for all ages. It’s up to their fans to decide, old and new alike. One thing is certain… they are talented and worth the listen. So take a moment and check them out because … to pull a line from their hit, London… “Hold up, cuz you ain’t never felt like this before…!” And the truth is you haven’t heard a band like this before. To their credit, PK’s sound is their own. They are PK.
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