PS I Love You – Death Dreams (Paper Bag Records)
May 29, 2012 by Jonny Chadwick
Lack of focus is rarely a good thing in music. Any album that meanders between styles, tones or themes is usually an indication of a lack of self-confidence on the part of its creator, and is almost never a good listen.
This makes PS I Love You’s second album, Death Dreams, somewhat unique. It kind of starts really exciting and doesn’t progress from that initial rush. However, the key is in the album retaining this same joy from beginning to end. With each intro, the listener gets the same thrill as distorted guitar collides with percussion to make a beautiful racket.
The influences are obvious, and they are not the first band to mimic American alt-rock of the 1990s, but PS I Love You are the most fun to listen to. The lyrics are barely audible, the riffs unruly and the hooks, to steal from one of their big influences, gigantic.
For fear of being misunderstood, it’s important to confirm that these are not happy songs. The lyrics detail regret, loss of youth and the fear of moving on. Although the words are rarely distinguishable and the vocals often simply form part of the instrumental wall of noise, if you catch one line here and there, the mood and tone of the music is immediately established. Personally, I have never heard anything quite like this: the lyric sets up the theme, then the music, for all its seeming lack of structure and focus, takes over, conveying the emotion and frustration better than any words could.
PS I Love You’s debut album, Meet Me at the Muster Station, was a stunning first effort, and its follow-up is another great addition to the 21st Century revisiting of the 1990s. At a first glance, it’s easy to feel like you’ve seen it all before, but it is difficult to remember a band in recent years that have taken older influences and created something so genuinely thrilling and effecting.