PS I Love You: Meet Me at the Muster Station


Meet Me at the Muster Station is the debut full-length album from Kingston, Ontario recording artists PS I Love You.  A duo consisting of Benjamin Nelson and Paul Saulnier, the band mixes guitar, drums, organ, bass, and feedback galore to produce a brash sonic squall that has powerful strengths and a notable shortcoming.  There is no doubt the band will make their mark with the Pitchfork-tight jeans and goofy glasses crowd searching for a hot new rave up but what is really happening inside this so-called Muster Station?

First things first, Saulnier rips on guitar.  His work throughout the album is the absolute highlight and his seemingly vocoded solo toward the end of “Breadends” could get him to at least the Sweet 16 of the indie rock guitar king tournament I just made up.  Mixing sheets of feedback with intricate fretwork and chunky chording his nimble fingers dance all over Muster Station showing thoughtful ideas and abundant energy.  Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis’ mix of heavy riffing and supple, delicate touch is a fair legend to shoot for.  I think he’s probably a Doug Marsch fan as well.  More power to him.

One area where PS I Love You falls short is their vocal sound.  The breathy shrieks and processed, pained wails recall too many indie rocks to name.  That reverberating and simply annoying tone where the voice is supposed to sound desperate, wounded, and maybe even haunting is simply cliché.  We can’t argue about the authenticity but it falls flat to these ears and pales in comparison to the power the band is exuding with their instruments.  It’s unfortunate because most of the melodies are catchy and fit warmly inside the songs.

Muster Station’s title track is a very quick two-minute strut to open the album.  A bit of an anomaly with its lack of soupy feedback and somewhat clearly enunciated vocals,  Saulnier’s rhythm chopping fits tightly alongside the sparse and down tempo drumbeat from Nelson. These complementary sounds create wonderful space for just a touch of guitar theatrics as the songs quickly ends.   “CBEZ” is another highlight that starts off innocently but soon begins to rip and tear.  Here, Saulnier’s vocals are so affected at times they sound like a snarling guitar riff modulated a few octaves up.  The repeated bash and pomp of the chord progression gives the track a skyward arch, lurching and leering for salvation. “Facelove” carries a bit of pop bounce akin to Arcade Fire before Saulnier dives into a fierce  and distorted lick a minute in.  Later he dances up the fret board for a hint of Eruption-style pyrotechnics and back down for some sustained note melting. Live, I think Saulnier may melt a bit more than notes.

None of this is to say that Nelson doesn’t find creative percussion to accompany his axe-wielding band mate.  He is much more than a simple bash and pounder like Meg White, but rather someone who seems to seek a little dynamism to accompany his power. Nonetheless, Saulnier makes the most noise on Muster Station and for that fans will return. If you like your indie rock with furious and fierce lead guitar check out PS I Love You.


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