Review : PS I Love You - Death Dreams
PitchforkI can say with a degree of certainty that I've heard a riff similar to the one in PS I Love You's "Sentimental Dishes" at least a thousand times in my life. And yet, a gritted combination of power chords and a major-key melody swaddled in guitar fuzz never fails to trigger the same bundle of associations: This is Underdog Music, conceived in a ramshackle garage in a city with no other social options, recorded on the cheap, and above all else, fun, a celebration of spirit trumping skill. The first of those two are likely the case for PS I Love You, who hail from the college town of Kingston, Ontario, and who don't sound like they've followed up 2010's Meet Me at the Muster Station with a much larger budget. Don't let the commonality of the words in Death Dreams' title-- these are two of rock's most enduring subjects-- mislead you: Death Dreams might sound beer-soaked, but it's drowning its sorrows with very loud and brash songs about very small and internal breakdowns.
Though it implies a deep interest in the metaphysically morbid, most of Death Dreams' lyrics concern the everyday problems of being alive-- financial insecurity, social anxiety, a longing for the immediate past. It's the sort of thing endemic to truly being on your own for the first time, and in PS I Love You's case, it's fairly easy to read into their particular post-grad depression as a band: They spent a couple of years gutting it out in Canada's competitive indie rock scene, and the positive reception of Muster Station made touring outside of their local surroundings feasible and necessary, though likely not entirely lucrative. Over the rangy "Future Dontcare", Paul Saulnier sounds about as resigned as his Frank Black squawk will allow him, admitting, "I wish this summer was like last summer/ Love doesn't care about the future." More to the point is "All I ever wanted/ Is more than I ever had," a line repeated in three separate tracks: here, and elsewhere, what Saulnier claims to have had sounds frighteningly hollow....full text
NoripcordIrrespective of the final outcome, the purported viewpoint of having the “will to dream” has long been the ultimate test of endurance. Of every feeling, it’s the most deceptive – the aim of giving purpose to one’s own existence, regardless of what that dream is, has been the product of so many life experiences: fruitful to the bright thinker with aspirations of commerce, corrosive to the tormented thinker who sees it unravel too clearly, and beneficial to the helpless thinker who’s been sold with false hope. Right at the beginning of 2012, off PS I Love You’s debut full length Meet Me At Muster Station, Paul Saulnier questions the finality of his very own: will we ever live to see our dreams. It’s hard to pin down whether it’s tied to the long-riddled Mayan prophecy, a relationship that’s about to fall apart, or, possibly, the crumbling of his own aspirations. Either way, Saulnier is the type who has a sense that dreams are certainly in the realm of ghosts, in which the machinations of his own subconscious could very well haunt his present.
Up to this point, PS I Love You has made joyous, high-spirited stompers that would duly appear in a “scream from the top of a mountaintop” playlist. Looking at it from a strictly superficial standpoint, this is music that’s suitable for backing a motivational pep rally, even if two musicians who would’ve preferred to grab a beer and hang out at the local patrol station make it. It sounds triumphant and meaningful, equipped to highlight every life-affirming moment. But Death Dreams has a much more dispiriting stance – through all that confidence lurks that feeling of fright and repentance, of letting the years run their course in an uneventful way. Their dreams are at stake, alarmingly reaching the point of hopelessness. So when the title track quavers an oxidized twang with calm placidity, one may suspect that these unassuming rock deities may have been spooked. Once Sentimental Dishes opens with a striking classic rock chord progression, you know they’re going to blaze one for kicks just like old times – Saulnier shreds one gallant riff after the next while drummer Benjamin Nelson punctuates every 16th and 32nd drum fill, sending it off with a smoldering finale that knocks one senseless. Sure, Saulnier’s double-picking is considered as child’s play in the eyes of a pedantic metalhead, but how many of these can apply all this fretboard abuse in the concision of a three minute pop song....full text
PrefixmagIf there’s a single sentence that sums up the Modus Operandi of PS I Love You, Paul Saulnier, lead singer/guitarist/bassist for the band, already said it in the recent issue of Spin. “I’m just trying to play with passion,” the perpetually bearded Saulnier told Spin, in a piece about the decline, and recent resurgence, of guitar solos. Passion comes bursting out of the Kingston, Ontario, duo effortlessly, and whether people think that guitar solos are “corny” is irrelevant. PS I Love You, after all, are a band that is all about Big Emotions, making art in hopes of elusive, transcendental feelings, making heart-on-sleeve, wide-eyed distillation of ‘90s alt-rock fuzz into obfuscated songs about being in a relationship and fighting over who does the dishes.
If “just trying to play with passion” is the ethos, then consider the band’s sophomore album, Death Dreams, the perfection. Building on the emotional core of debut, Meet Me at the Muster Station, Death Dreams is 11 songs of buzzing, fist-pumping, affecting rock, an album practically tailor made for staring longingly into a great expanse and considering existence. From highlight and lead single “Sentimental Dishes,” to the death ride thrust of “Princess Towers,” Death Dreams is one of this year’s best indie rock albums.
Sophomore albums from blurry, rocking bands can usually be accompanied by phrases like, “accepts the spotlight,” or “moves front and center” in relation to the singer (seemingly) having more confidence. That’s not Saulnier’s game here, nor it will probably ever be: Dude has always seemed like he became the lead singer out of default, since drummer Benjamin Nelson is often conjuring up nuclear strikes on his kit. Saulnier might let a few more choruses slip out between his Wall of Riffs this time out—“Future Dontcare” has a wistful chorus that can actually be sung along to—he plays like a guy who has finally found the right way to express himself to a world that doesn’t consider him. And often, that’s through his awe-inspiring—and yes, passionate—guitar solos. The vaguely western and lyrical “Saskatoon” is a highlight, while “Don’t Go” impresses for sheer intensity. But they all take honorable mention to “First Contact,” the show-stopping album closer that begins as a campfire, acoustic strum along about watching the movie First Contact and 2012, which culminates in a guitar solo that takes over as Saulnier’s voice throughout the last two verses....full text
PS I Love You Album Reviews
Sweetslyrics Top 20 Artists
PS I Love You Lyrics
Do you think money can buy happiness?