Paul Saulnier and Benjamin Nelson returned to their Kingston roots this past spring to record PS I Love You’s second studio album, Figure it Out.
While the duo’s last album, Meet Me at the Muster Station, boasted an unlikely fusion of grunge rock and experimental pop, this one takes a successful leap to the less predictable. The eclecticism of Figure it Out, in part due to its compilation of already-released singles, is undoubtedly the reflection of PS I Love You confidently maturing into cross-continent fame.
The Kingston band gained critical acclaim with the release of their 2010 record, Meet Me at the Muster Station, which landed them a European tour.
The band rewarms the 2010 single “Leftovers” that features Diamond Rings. Rolling Stone released the single’s music video, chronicling the trio’s tour, most notably a stop in Marfa, Texas where Saulnier cooked up a dinner for the guys in their rented trailer.
The video makes visual the musical stylings of PS I Love You and Diamond Rings—fusing the everyday musings of a 20-something songwriter with the strong instrumental backbone that earned them both acclaim.
The new album’s opening track, “Subtle and Majestic,” is just what the name suggests. A lingering bass line and foot-tapping beat trace the song from its soft, lofty beginning to a multi-layered end.
Fourth on the album, “Actually (I Am A Monster Now),” has the understated, innocent sound of fellow Canadians Arcade Fire. The haunting harmonies of a back-up choir suit this track’s ominous title.
Folky and nostalgic, “Notes and Stuff” breaks from Figure it Out’s progressive pop-rock feel. No complaints here, though. The quick acoustic piece is a standout for its simplicity and honest vocals.
Though a clear departure from their last studio album, Figure it Out seamlessly collects PS I Love You’s greatest work. While remixed old songs might bring loyal listeners back, it’s the album’s assorted song selection that will draw newcomers with a something-for-everyone appeal. Blending raw vocal talent, electronic instrumentation and their signature twist on rock and roll, Figure it Out shows that this Kingston duo has figured it out.