Since their 2014 breakthrough hit ‘St. Patrick’, PVRIS have been establishing themselves as a band with beat-heavy alternative rock. They’ve clearly established their electro-rock sound at this point and are sticking to what has worked for them already, although they have come back with a much darker edge.
There has been a clear lyrical evolution between their previous album, White Noise, and this. Lyndsey Gunnulfsen’s voice has an edge to it that really adds to the darkness of some of the lyrics throughout the album, particularly the angst-fuelled lead single (and opening track) ‘Heaven’.
One of the stand-out tracks on the album is ‘Anyone Else’. The composition beautifully balances an upbeat rhythm, that reminded me of the style of Ellie Goulding’s debut album Lights, with Gunnulfsen’s ethereal voice and emotional lyrics. With a thumping chorus, it’s a stylistic melting pot that culminates with screams of “I don’t belong to anyone else”, before mellowing back out into a soft harp as the song ends.
This is followed up by a track more reminiscent of their first album, What’s Wrong. With it’s screams of “I will never sell my soul”, a strong beat and a catchy hook, it is a clear stand-out in terms of tracks that will have live audiences screaming along when PVRIS tour the UK later this year.
The hook on ‘Same Soul’, makes it one of the more memorable tracks on the album. It starts out with a more mellow indie guitar band riff and then the bass starts thumping.
‘No Mercy’ is probably the most experimental track on the album but seems somehow out of place among the other songs on the album.
Separate reminded me of Florence and the Machine’s ghostly second album Ceremonials, with a slower sound than the rest of the album and dark lyrics.
Rounding out the album is ‘Nola 1’, probably the least rock-influenced track. Instead it has more of a mellow electro-pop sound. As a result it is probably the most suitable closing track as it is a final showcase for the evolution of their sound throughout the album.
It is clear that this album has been a labour of love for PVRIS. The artful production, haunting lyrics and catchy hooks ensure that this Massachusetts-based band don’t suffer from the ‘sophomore slump’. By being a little experimental, whilst sticking to their tried and tested electro-rock sound, PVRIS have created an eclectic album that may win over some new fans without alienating their original followers.
4 out of 5