By Christine Leonard
CALGARY — Last week, I ran across a vintage postcard that depicted a “bird’s-eye view” of sunny Kingston, Ontario. The ephemeral souvenir’s description framed the bustling metropolis to the east as “the gateway to the 1,000 Islands vacation wonderland showing the Centennial fountain and City Hall, the site of Queen’s University and Old Fort Henry, and the home of Sir John A. MacDonald the Father of Confederation.” A tad outdated, but this sentiment of civic pride persists and resonates with dyed-in-the-wool Kingstonians like songmaker Paul Saulnier. One half of the harmonious mod-pop duo known as PS I Love You, Saulnier’s latest work conjures memories of a bygone era when his stomping grounds were inhabited by those who played basements and dive clubs all night long.
“We took a lot more time to and did a more indulgent record in a way,” says Saulnier. ”Some songs were fully formed going into the process and others were a group effort that came together in the studio. We didn’t know what it would be like and were amazed by the way it naturally progressed and changed into a cohesive album in the making.”
A homecoming of sorts, PS I Love You’s latest release is the first since the band’s jovial vocalist/guitarist Saulnier departed Kingston, and the immediate company of his partner in rhyme, Benjamin Nelson (drums, vocals), to abide in Toronto. Reunited with Nelson at a recording facility fondly referred to as The Bathouse, their third album to date, Those Who Stay, is a lush, melodic, dare I say, Ween-ish celebration of Canada’s own Kingston town.
“While my move to Toronto was important to my personal life, it didn’t necessarily impact the sound of my music,” Saulnier explains. “The anxious energy mixed with a bit of paranoia is still there, but with some smooth bits thanks to keyboardist Tim Bruton and synth bassist/producer Matt Rogalsky, who helped us out in the studio. Kingston is such a transient city that you wind up having a new batch of friends and fellow musicians every couple of years. The concept behind Those Who Stay is a weird version of Kingston, as it would be, if everyone who came here over the years had stayed on and played on.”
Catch PS I Love You on September 5th at the Windsor Hotel (Winnipeg), September 9th at HiFi Club (Calgary) and September 10th at the Pawn Shop (Edmonton).AB, Alberta, HIFI Club, Pawn Shop, PS I Love You, Windsor Hotel