It’s amazing to think that people still seem shocked at the huge sound that two people can make on a stage. It’s also a shame that the Lexington is only a third full tonight as PS I Love You are really something unique at the moment. When a band as genuine as this Canadian duo come along you really do wish more people were listening.
For a big guy Paul Saulnier is as unassuming a frontman as you could envisage, shuffling onto the stage to take his place next to his drumming compatriot Benjamin Nelson, before launching into Meet Me at the Muster Station from their debut album of the same name. On record the duo produce a caterwauling of guitars and drums, but beneath the layers of feedback and swirling sounds of Saulnier’s guitar, are some beautifully crafted and melodic songs. Chat is kept to a minimum – there’s an endearing shyness to the bearded frontman – but the songs are big and brash enough to compensate, given a freer reign live than on record. For this, Saulnier’s guitar playing is the key. On songs such as Get Over and 2012 he’s able to seemingly play 3 different rhythms at once before crashing into powerchord delirium. It’s indie alt-rock at its best, but with a layer of machismo metal thrown into the mix with the soloing of a heavy rock enthusiast on songs such as Butterflies and Boners.
Whilst the guitar thrashes and the drums pound, Saulnier’s vocals definitely conjure comparisons to the Pixies Frank Black. He has that strained yelp that Black perfected, never quite hitting the note, but always portraying the emotion of someone struggling to get across their point of view. Throughout the 40 minute set there are moments of reflection and downtime. Subtle and Majestic is almost a ballad, a 3 and a half minute ode to the beauty of making a mixtape for someone, not to romance, but “so you can really hear what they actually mean”, sung with a fragility and honesty befitting the lyrical sentiment. Final song Facelove is the stand out track tonight, the closest thing PS I Love You have to a ‘hit’. With 3 lines of anguished lyrics followed by 3 minutes of guitar solos it perfectly encapsulates why PS I Love You are one of the best performances I’ve seen this year. Watching Saulnier finger tap his way around the frets, playing the bass notes with his right hand whilst Nelson builds the drums louder and louder to a monumental drop, it draws you into their world a thousand times more than any greetings-card lyric love song would. It’s just a shame more people aren’t here to witness it.