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PS I Love You – Death Dreams (Review)

PS I Love You, Death Dreams

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

ONTARIO’S PS I Love You tap into their dark side on the appropriately named sophomore release, Death Dreams, but making out what they have to say is often impossible.

Incredibly, however, this doesn’t detract from an otherwise rollicking record, in which the frenzied guitar sound wins through. If anything, Paul Saulnier’s yelp-like wail of a vocal sometimes gets in the way and there’s the suspicion that if you could hear all he had to say, this would be a depressing experience.

The album itself was inspired by a series of dark, recurring dreams that Saulnier began to have centred around his mortality that were triggered by life on the road.
Hence, there’s a keen sense of longing and regret when you can make out what is being said, with Future Dontcare lamenting that “I wish this summer could be like last summer” before hitting you with the forlorn lyric: “Love doesn’t care about the future.”

Incredibly, the guitar sound harks back to classic Smiths as well as more contemporary Stellastarr.

Earlier on, Don’t Go wins you over with a foot-stomping back-beat and some terrific guitar work, even while Saulnier once more painfully laments the passing of another relationship.

How Do You Do also contains some fantastic guitar riffs that compensate for more angst, while album highlight Red Quarter is just a brilliant, guitar-led moment that exhilarates from beginning to end. If anything, Saulnier’s vocals seem more reigned in than normal and he’s content to let the guitars do a lot of the talking, particularly late on.

There’s a keen sense of melody in the guitar work on Saskatoon, which suggests that PS I Love You could sometimes also slow down the pace to winning effect, while album closer First Contact also strips things back to a degree, replacing the electric guitars with a breezy acoustic backdrop that also works well for them early on. They do eventually plug things back in around the 30-second mark but, again, it shows there is the possibility for mixing the sound up successfully.

Death Dreams won’t be to everyone’s taste, especially because of Saulnier’s polarising vocals and the lack of clarity in a lot of the lyrics. But if you like punchy, spiky, punk-leaning guitar riffs that are shot through with energy and melody, then PS I Love You still have plenty in their arsenal to win you over.

Download picks: Don’t Go, How Do You, Red Quarter, Saskatoon, First Contact

Track listing:

  1. Death Dreams
  2. Sentimental Dishes
  3. Don’t Go
  4. Toronto
  5. Future Dontcare
  6. Death Dreams II
  7. How Do You
  8. Princess Towers
  9. Red Quarter
  10. Saskatoon
  11. First Contact