Paul Saulnier and Benjamin Nelson raised their band from Kingston’s lowest places, from bars and basements and late-night pits of the heart, above the swirling fug of death dreams and depression, until this two-piece rock’n’roll act was like a black and red corona setting St George’s aglow. And then while Nelson minded the fort(s), Paul left home – to Toronto, following his heart.
‘For Those Who Stay’ is PS I Love You’s third album, and it was made after Paul quit Kingston for a different big smoke. Of course the band had to go back to Kingston to record it – working at a place called the Bathouse, the duo’s first time in “a proper studio”.
“We basically grew our band and did live takes and then I added 100 guitars to each song,” Saulnier says. It was he (legion of guitars, lead vocals) and Nelson (drums, secondary vocals), plus help from friends Tim Bruton (keyboards) and Matt Rogalsky (production, synth bass). The pro studio added another dimension to these recordings: beside the shrieking mountains of riff there are quiet moments and cosmic moments, moments soft-sung or jangly. There’s a little more Iggy Pop, post-Stooges; some Bowie and a jolt of weird Canada. The title track tells its plot-twists in seven minutes of bending riffs and pan-galactic spin. “Limestone Radio” is a song of ghosts.
‘For Those Who Stay’ was encouraged by the girding strength of love but of course it’s still dredging and confused, of course it’s still resplendent in its churn. Maybe it’s the sound of leaving home and still hearing it calling.