PS I Love You: Death Dreams


Paper Bag

The heavy heavies are alive and well in Canada and about to bomb the rest of the continent. Leading the charge straight outa Kingston is PS I Love You, a duo with a sound big as Mastodon and in love with the madness of guitar rock. When axeman Paul Saulnier gets to wailing, he steps way outside the canon of heavy metal to references diverse as J.Mascis and Tom Verlaine. Living up to its title, Death Dreams showcases the duo’s dark sides, in many ways the flip to 2010’s debut Meet Me at the Muster Station. That stomping, beer foaming wreck room party of an album put them on the radar courtesy of a shortlisting for the Polaris Prize and cemented by glowing reviews all up and down the Webscape.

So they could have easily dropped Meet Me… 2.0 and it likely would have been well received. Nuff respect for not doing the obvious and instead, digging down deeper and darker. The lyrics drag ennui down to the level of despair, even as the guitars alternately grind and soar, fuzzed-out and wash wah-ed as that massive drum sound does things to your sternum.

This album does not play nice, a stance underlined by  “Sentimental Dishes”, the sole flirtation with the power pop which suffused much of the debut. There’s also little attention to catchy melody and the vocals often sound strained and beaten up, like dude’s rising from his TB sheets to sing them, and is mightily pissed off at the prospect. On that front, “Don’t Go,” is just prime nihilist love snarl. There are lots more like that and it could have gotten so draggy were it not for the geetar love part of the mix, prime exhibits being Saulnier’s riffology on  “Red Quarter”, “First Contact.” and the prog-rock flirtations of the title track.

Death dreams ain’t perfect but it’ll be mighty perfect for fans of the hard’n’heavy.

Lenny Stoute