PS I Love You, the heartthrob of the Kingston, Ontario’s indie rock scene, had more than just high expectations placed upon them after the unexpected success of 2010’s Meet Me At The Muster Station. With critical praise and a tour schedule that stretched the world wide, the guitar/drum duo of Paul Saulnier and Benjamin Nelson found themselves amongst the few Canadian bands able to gain considerable international success. It was in this almost surreal experience of musical conquest that PS I Love You’s second LP, Death Dreams, was born.
The title track opens things up with a dark instrumental that builds among crashing cymbals and delicate guitar lines into the characteristic sound that brought PS I Love You to where they are today. Death Dreams is much of the same punk influenced garage-rock that Muster Station brought to the table, but with a hint of maturity and progression that keeps things fresh and, once all is said and done, leaves you wanting more and more.
Saulnier’s high-pitched, expressive wail is indecipherable at times, but pairs perfectly with his intricate guitar work and Nelson’s frantic, driving drum beats. Together the two move together at a blinding pace, weaving between each reverb-drenched song and exploding with energy. If anything, Death Dreams is noisy as hell and the record benefits from the complete lack of restraint in constructing something as chaotic as it is melodic.
Death Dreams finds itself at its strongest in the second half following another instrumental, the feedback entrenched “Death Dreams II,” diving headfirst back into the wild audible environment developed over the first 6 tracks. With the recurring line of “all I ever wanted was more than I ever had,” Saulnier guides the latter songs to new heights, exuding his most passionate tones with bluesy guitar lines that only add yet another element to the album’s already impressive musical influence.
Combined with the flawless production of Muster Station’s Matt Rogalsky and the DIY approach the band’s taken since its beginnings, Death Dreams is beautifully atmospheric; a dark, enveloping wave of sonic aggression. Laced with solos and crowd-pleasing sing-a-longs, PS I Love You has managed to yet again create an ambitious and dominant album that falls into line with predecessors like fellow Ontarian’s Death From Above 1979’s You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine. Right up until the closing track “First Contact,” which could easily be the best of the entire record, Death Dreams is intriguing, impressive, and a satisfying experience.
7.5 / 10
Posted Jan. 13, 2005, 3:59 a.m.
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