Kingston, Ontario, is home to indie rock duo PS I Love You. The band originally formed in 2006 as the solo project for musician Paul Saulnier, who later recruited Benjamin Nelson on drums to replace his former keyboard drum machines. Their latest release, Death Dreams, arrived in May 2012 on Paper Bag Records. Death Dreams is said to be shaped by Saulnier’s recurring dreams about death, which were triggered while on the road. It’s the follow-up to their acclaimed 2010 debut, Meet Me at the Muster Station, which, in turn, is said to be about the duo’s hometown. Per the band’s website, Death Dreams focus track “Don’t Go” is a rowdy atmospheric song that features Nelson on backing vocals for the first time.
Most Americans joke about moving to Canada when things look bleak stateside. For guitar-centric, pedal smashing indie rock fans, it’s time to get serious. There’s something in the air up north, and Ontario duo PS I Love You are the newest Canadian heart-on-the-sleeve indie rockers to break through the ice. PS I Love You formed in 2006 when multi-instrumentalist Paul Saulnier—weary of supporting his heavy pop incantations with unreliable Casio drum tones—found Benjamin Nelson to add the raucous noise of a live drummer to the mix. Their first release, a split 7” EP with Toronto’s Diamond Rings, showcased the punchy guitar jam “Facelove” and introduced Saulnier’s yelping vocal style to a wider audience. And yelp he does. With PS I Love You, the singing feels instinctual; Saulnier powers through songs with a reckless voice that bounces between yelling, howling and singing, seemingly at will. Standout track “Get Over” from their 2010 debut LP Meet Me At The Muster Station (a tribute to their hometown of Kingston) opens with a propulsive, heavily distorted guitar tone that rumbles beneath Saulnier’s pleas (“What you got you know I want it / What you don’t want, you know I got it”) until the song explodes with a radio-friendly low-end guitar riff and cries of excitement. Following in the footsteps of their Canadian contemporaries like Wolf Parade and Japandroids, PS I Love You write towering, propulsive anthems that bring added emotional depth to the traditional big riff, catchy chorus rock song. With the release of their second album Death Dreams this year, the duo holds on to this larger-than-life attitude without sacrificing their lo-fi, underground flavor. From the Journey ripping power chords of “Sentimental Dishes” to the vein popping, emo-ballad of “Don’t Go,” Death Dreams sounds like classic rock radio rerouted through an overblown practice amp and hyped up on energy drinks and heartbreak. Despite sharing their band moniker with an awful movie and a Beatles song, PS I Love You are more ambitious than their afterthought of a name might lead you to believe. This impassioned band’s intentions are clear: write guitar riffs that bend, break and rip, sing with uninhibited fervor and leave absolutely nothing to the postscript.