PVRIS is not your average alternative rock band. Made up of front woman and lead singer Lynn Gunn, along with bassist Brian McDonald and guitarist Alex Babinski, it’s easy to excuse them as ‘The New Paramore,’ of the post pop punk generation.
PVRIS is different for a number of reasons, from their quirky name (pronounced Paris) to their unique fusion of electronic rhythms and emo punk. But notably, after their signing to Rise records in 2012, they became the first female led signing of the label. This is revolutionary in a genre that is almost exclusively fronted by men, with Paramore being the only major band of note to reach superstardom in the alternative sphere with strong female lead Hayley Williams.
Gunn is actually a huge fan of Williams, although is quick to dismiss their similarities music wise. Talking of issues she’s faced in the music industry as a woman, Gunn is very vocal about it. Talking to Fuse, she says she deals with “pretty much the same shit,” accounting a time between songs where a male audience member said he wanted to ejaculate over her face. “I was like, ‘Excuse me sir, please fuck off,’” she recounts, “You’re disgusting. Have some manners. That’s not how you talk to anyone.”
|Lynn Gunn performing live. Photograph: fuse.|
Evident through her loud and excitable vocals, Gunn is not afraid to speak her mind, either publically or creatively through her music, which hasn’t gone unrewarded in the music industry. Earlier this year on June 11th, the band won the Relentless Kerrang! Award for Best International Newcomer, which they modestly “didn’t even think [they’d] get nominated for.”
The band, from Lowell, Massachusetts, released their debut album White Noise in 2014, but their success was yet to cross the Atlantic until earlier this year, when BBC Radio 1 gave their first play to “St. Patrick,” ironically around St. Patricks Day on March 17th. Interest in their music grew, and Radio 1 gave their follow up single “Fire” their renowned “Track of the Day” title last month.
The sound of the album is a kind of refreshing balance between mainstream pop and hardcore rock that no other alternative band has been able to achieve as successfully before.
‘Smoke’ is the opening track of the album, and really acts as an introduction telling you what the PVRIS sound is all about. Combining repetitive guitar rhythms and whispy Paramore ‘Decode’ like background noise, it makes for an inspiring first track. ‘St Patrick’ is their first single taken from the album and you can see why, it’s the most ‘poppy’ of their pop punk sound, and its hum worthy electronic sound wouldn’t go amiss in a Calvin Harris set. I watched the video for ‘My House’ on YouTube, and I was surprised by what I saw with shots of the trio lying on a sofa and playing video games, its passiveness the complete opposite of the anger in this song. Gunn’s silky sweet yet bitter vocals give way to this temper balance, which stops the song from being too teenage angst. ‘Holy,’ is my favourite song on the album, and I still can’t put my finger on exactly why, but I can try. The heavenly rhythm accompanied by Gunn’s girly background vocals are swayable, and it’s the first time PVRIS reveal how expansive they can be lyrically, repeating “poor unfortunate soul,” so much that I felt like I was watching the Little Mermaid all over again. Here, the lyrics aren’t directed at a particular person or idea, but rather a general concept of faith, controversially singing “I think your chest must be heavy from the cross on your neck.”
|PVRIS's debut album 'White Noise.' Photograph: Rap Genius|
|The band performing in BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge. Photograph: BBC.|
'White Noise,’ is the track which name is given to the album, about wanting something so badly that you can no longer know how to express yourself in a way that anyone understands. The chorus can get repetitive, but it’s the guitar rifts which keep this song afloat. ‘Fire’ is their second UK single, and is my new ‘getting over an ex’ anthem, with lyrics like “just drop dead,” and “you can’t cheat death when you’re digging your own grave.” Sounds extreme, but it’s more feisty than psychotic. ‘Eyelids,’ is quite droopy in terms of the instrumentals, but it’s definitely one of PVRIS more exposed lyric and far more personal, with a Taylor Swift ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ style spoken word at the end of the song. ‘Mirrors’ continues the album’s theme of obsession with the otherworldly, but unfortunately is the only song on the album eligible for the filler category. ‘Ghosts’ is similar to ‘Mirrors’ in terms its theme, but with that addictive drum beat that was missing from its predecessor. Finally, in ‘Let Them In,’ Gunn gives a stellar vocal performance, jumping from her shoutier verses to her operatic highs.
With such vocals, it’s easy to forget that the other two band members exist, but the music behind the vocals is really what makes this entire album. An impressive first effort from the band, who I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of. And when they get their own headline tour, I’ll be the first to buy tickets.
Killer Track: Holy
Filler Track: Mirrors (just!)
White Noise is out now. PVRIS will be playing Reading and Leeds this year.
This review is also available on #SpiceUK online, with tons of other cool stuff, so go check them out --> www.spiceukonline.com/
On Wednesday, I review the Pretty Little Liars Season 6 finale- I'M SO FRICKIN HYPE!
Be sure to stalk me on social media by clicking on the icons on the right.
As always, thanks for reading.