Hailing from Lowell, Massachusetts, PVRIS (pronounced “Paris”) have come a long way since releasing their debut album, White Noise, in 2014. Made up of lead singer Lyndsey Gunnulfsen (Lynn Gunn), guitarist Alex Babinski, and bassist Brian MacDonald, this alt-rock trio have truly made their mark. With their signature blend of beat-heavy alternative rock and dark lyrics, PVRIS have mastered their style in All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell explores a darker, more expressively evolved sound.
Opening with the pre-released single Heaven, the album starts with a fast-paced track fuelled with a catchy chorus, the aggressive vocals of Lynn Gunn, and plenty of back beats, bass, and drumming. There’s no denying Heaven is built up with analogy and angst. The opening track immediately prompts you to reconsider your familiarity of PVRIS’ sound. You could say, we got all we need of Heaven. Moving on, PVRIS’ Heaven visualiser (which ends with each band member dying) may be more symbolic than we realise – it’s the end of the White Noise era, and the start of anew.
Next up in the track-list is Half. Persisting with pensive and melancholy undertones, Half offers a more aggressive fast drum-based sound with Lynn Gunn’s ethereal overlaying vocal melodies and repetitive lyrics. The Half visualette builds on the tracks gothic ambiguity and leaves Half wide open for interpretation.
Track three is Anyone Else and has to be my absolute favourite. The in-track paradox of somewhat up-beat music against emphatically emotional lyrics is a smart move, and the latter ending climaxes in loud aggressive vocals that gradually decays into a soft harp ending, which shows the band’s masterful track composition. Put simply; Anyone Else is one Hell of an emotional melting pot.
Next up is track four titled What’s Wrong and it’s classical PVRIS with catchy hooks, a strong beat, and imaginative lyrics. What’s Wrong is definitely a power single and will be a fan-favourite track long after All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell is released.
Placed in the middle of the track list is Walk Alone. For me, Walk Alone is aptly titled, but feels isolated on the record. Sitting between a power track (What’s Wrong) and the unique energy of Same Soul, the song holds its own with a slower pace than previous songs, but there’s something too purposeful about its placement – the song feels too much like a bridge between creative halves.
Winter, track seven, was a lot more introspective than expected. As an emotionally charged song, Winter displayed the band’s creativity with sound and dark lyrics. However, the album seems in a rush to move on from this a wistful vibe to the upbeat rhythmic electro-sound of No Mercy. No Mercy is repetitive, catchy, but unlike previous tracks, I’m still deciding how I feel about it.
The second to last track Separate brings us to another favourite of mine. Separate is washed with sentiment dwelling on disconnection, isolation, and incompatibly, and Lynn Gunn’s ghostly melodies bring the track to life. While this album features stand out tracks that are sewn together with memorable lyrics and fast-paced sound, Separate offers unexpected comfort in its dark lyrics and slower sound.
Last of all, the album closes on Nola 1. The closing track defines PVRIS’ new sound. Without giving too much away, all I can say is you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the artful composition of Nola 1 – the track feels a lot more electro-pop centered than alternative rock, but it’s a refreshing end to the album.
Overall, All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell is a creatively produced album, and opens up a highly anticipated new era for PVRIS. With the band pushing their limits of gothic sound and matured lyricism, we’ve reached the new age of PVRIS and it was well worth the wait.
All Images courtesy of Rise Records.