It’s safe to say that PS I Love You has carved a niche for itself in the indie music scene. Their Polaris long-listed Meet Me At the Muster Station was a delicious, short and sweet fuzzy guitar attack. It hit big with audiences, and less than two years later, the band has returned with the ominously-titled Death Dreams.
Singer/guitarist Paul Saulnier told Exclaim! that the album name comes from a fairly obvious place- Saulnier has had many dreams of his own demise, and he has had one recurring dream where he is a ghost and is running around a block, but naturally no one can see him.
This dark “death” feeling is one explored in many an album, but PS I Love You attack the subject as they attacked their previous album- a whole lot of noise, lots of tasty solos, but with a markedly different sound from Meet Me At the Muster Station. The songs are a little longer and there’s more atmospheric tension, for starters.
You can get that feeling of being chased by death on the tracks “Death Dreams” and “Death Dreams II.” The title track is the beginning of the album and basically acts as a scene setter. The trademark fuzzy guitar opens it, with many cymbal strikes from drummer Benjamin Nelson. The other song has a somewhat creepy effect when listening on head phones. The main melody of the song is only audible in the right headphone, but it slowly makes its way to the left headphone, as though death really is chasing someone.
The band also pays tribute to two cities in song form. The first is “Toronto,” a short but rocking song that conjures images of a whirlwind tour of the giant city. The other song is “Saskatoon,” which is a more bleak, atmospheric tune. I’ve never been to Saskatoon, so I don’t know if the music is fitting. Can someone corroborate this?
The madman-ranting vocals of Saulnier are still very present, and he shows some range with songs like “Sentimental Dishes” and “Don’t Go.” I was surprised particularly by the latter song, which has Saulnier sounding more passionate than I’ve ever heard before. I mean, the way he sings could be called passionate but you’ll hear what I mean in that song.
The fuzzy guitar sound has certainly not gone stale, though I feel like some of these songs could be shorter. Part of what made Muster Station such a joy was how quickly one could plow through them. Short bursts of energy (at least in my eyes) can be stronger than more drawn-out solos.
Still, Death Dreams is not an album to be missed. If this is the sound of death chasing someone, I’d welcome it.
Top Tracks: “Don’t Go”; “Princess Towers”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*