PS I Love You – Meet Me At The Muster Station (Paperbag Records)

May 27, 2011 by  

Like the perfect antidote to a woefully bad rom-com, scuzz pop duo PS I Love You are still on a mission to win the hearts of those who stumble across their debut record. Meet Me At The Muster Station may have come out last year in the US, but its re-release on Paperbag Records this side of the pond is causing a well-deserved stir. The fact is, these two are really good at what they do. If you thought relatively uncomplicated four to the floor drum patterns haven’t been worth listening to since The White Stripes’ ‘The Hardest Button To Button’, then you really ought to lend your ear to this blistering 10-song effort from Paul Saulnier and Benjamin Nelson.

Maybe it’s something to do with the part of Ontario they hail from, and the crushing winters they must endure, but there’s a certain giddy hysteria to this album. It’s beautifully infectious. It’s the sound of twenty-somethings with too much time on their hands, stories to document and the bare bones of songs in their heads. Except it’s that sound turned into a scorching half hour of noise-pop scattered with barely discernable vocals. Standard fare if you’re PS I Love You, it turns out.

Attempting to condense all the raucous elements of this record into a review is in itself almost as challenging as trying to figure out exactly what Saulnier’s yelping beneath the guitar fuzz on ‘2012’. An ambitious guitar hook lies central to the song, and has its brilliance highlighted further when Saulnier literally sings to its tune in the chorus. His guitar histrionics are really a large part of what make PS I Love You different from most bands in the sort of noise-indie bag. I mean, this guy can really play. You get the sense that when trying to express an emotion or desire in words just takes too much effort or seems contrived, he busts out a fretboard-destroying solo instead. Somehow, on tracks like ‘Facelove’ and lead single ‘Get Over’ this comes off sounding nothing like that lame guy who listened to too much Slash instead of going out and making friends. It just sounds earnest.

Behind it all sits Nelson, thumping and thundering along to Saulnier’s oft-erratic melodies. Within the duo he tends to sound like the resounding voice of reason: his attention to detail and clear technical skill stop PS I Love You spiralling into the realms of messy and shambolic experimental rock. Whether creating the addictive rhythm pattern on ‘Butterflies & Boners’ (in which the girl in question gives Saulnier the kind of nervousness that makes him want to throw up, apparently) or bank robbery re-teller ‘Breadends’, he creates the drive that propels each song from section to section. This is essentially what makes PS I Love You’s debut so rewarding and exciting: they know how to capture a wildness and energy and distill it into 3-minute blasts of lo-fi that borrows from both grunge and pop. This is one to unravel and enjoy, and to play on rotation for a while. Loud.