Despite being called PVRIS (as in ‘Paris’), the band is from the USA – Lowell, Massachusetts to be precise – and consists of vocalist/guitarist Lynn Gunn, guitarist Alex Babinski and bassist Brian MacDonald. Their music has been labelled as post-hardcore, with a mixture of electro-pop and rock. After the release of their debut album White Noise in 2014, PVRIS experienced a great deal of well-deserved success, which saw them play sold out shows and tour with the likes of Bring Me the Horizon and Fall Out Boy.
The sound of White Noise was a mixture of dark pop and electronica, with psychedelic undertones, supernatural and spiritual themes, All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell expands on the spiritual aspects and elevates the band to greater heights. Indeed, the album opens with the dreamy track ‘Heaven’ which, true to its name, has an ethereal beauty to it and sets the tone of what is to come. Throughout the album Gunn’s voice is despondent and soulful, at times with a delicious snarl, that adds weight to her words. The following track ‘Half’, builds up momentum with a hard-hitting rhythm and Lynn’s emotive vocals over soaring beats. ‘Anyone Else’ has a distinctive bass line which incites you to move and empowers with the lyrics “I don’t belong to anyone else”. In contrast, ‘What’s Wrong’ gets darker, despite its deceptively infectious pop sensibilities, touching on Gunn’s battle with depression with no nonsense lyrics – “don’t need a metaphor for you to know I’m miserable”. This brings to mind the band Creeper’s own lyrics (on the song ‘Misery’), “misery never goes out of style” and indeed PVRIS expertly incorporate this melancholia into their image and certainly do so with style. Their music videos are well worth a watch, illustrating the melancholic undercurrents of the album through stunning displays of visual art in chic greyscale.
Whilst still being abrasive, ‘Walk Alone’ is a more mellow song, complete with the twinkle of a harp which is also used at other points in the album to great effect. ‘Same Soul’ is undoubtedly catchy and has a bite to it, but is less distinct than the other tracks. The album picks up again with ‘Winter’ with a more upbeat rhythm, which then runs onto ‘No Mercy’. ‘No Mercy’ is by far the heaviest song on the album, which rains down with great force and a marching tempo. The dissonance and echoing lyrics of ‘Separate’ beautifully illustrates the disconnect between heart and head that Gunn sings of. Finally, the album culminates with ‘Nola 1’ it feels like a more cheerful and lighter song, though with a bittersweet note of uncertainty. One thing is for certain though, with a sophomore album like this, PVRIS’ career will continue to soar.
…its extensive soundscapes brings to mind the feeling of awe and insignificance that comes with staring up at the starry night sky
All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell is hypnotising, certainly not background music, you’ll find yourself immersed in the stunning soundscapes from beginning to end as one song flows seamlessly onto the next. Indeed, its extensive soundscapes brings to mind the feeling of awe and insignificance that comes with staring up at the starry night sky. Haunting and beautiful, its deep and layered textures are reminiscent of The Cure’s Disintegration, though its electro-pop undertones ensure the album remains accessible. Ultimately, the beauty and the bleakness of the album places PVRIS somewhere between heaven and hell.
The album is available now. PVRIS will be touring in November and will be performing at the 02 Academy in Birmingham on Thursday the 23rd.