Editor’s note: This album review first appeared in our Fall 2014 print edition. Due to an editing error, some of this review was not published. We apologize for this error. Please see below for the full review.
By Jonah Sprinkel
In an age where Katy Perry and Justin Timberlake dominate the airwaves comes PVRIS (pronounced Paris), a front-woman-led alt rock/pop group from Lowell, Mass. Formed two years ago, this group has been on the fast track in their respective scene and have made a huge splash with their debut album White Noise. Released on Nov. 4, 2014 through Rise/Velocity Records, White Noise charted at #6 on the U.S. Alternative charts and #23 on the iTunes charts.
From the very first track, “Smoke,”you really get a feeling for who PVRIS really is. A band who can dominate your attention with a large and almost eerie sound vocabulary that, incredibly, has been created by only three people. Driven by Lyndsey Gunnulfsen’s powerful vocals, heavy drums, synthesizers and a fast guitar, PVRIS have created a sound that is completely their own. The track “Holy” comes in and out like the tide. At first the band slows it down before slowly building up to a chorus of raw power and then letting listeners down easy into the slow ebb of the waves of sound. “Mirrors”opens up the intro and first verse with a club-like bass synthesizer before blending that club sound with a heavy guitar part that truly does, as Gunnulfsen says, “make my world spin.”But it’s not just the music element that makes PVRIS who they are.
Within the lyrics you will find deep meaning and emotion. Gunnulfsen weaves a soulfully pounding story in the song “My House.” “It’s my house/And I think it’s time to get out/It’s my soul/It isn’t yours anymore.”Later on in the title track “White Noise”she heartbreakingly screams as only she can, “I’m watching/I’m waiting/I’m aching/Suffocating/I’m breathing/I’m speaking/Can you hear me?/I’m screaming for you.”The final track “Let Them In”is almost a regretful mourning with Gunnulfsen bringing the album to a close with the words, “And all the walls are caving in/And I feel you entering/I shouldn’t give in/But I let you win/I let you in.”Maybe she is talking about the person she wanted out in the song “My House.”
Packed with power but also intricately and wonderfully put together this is in my opinion the best album of 2014. While listening to it you feel like you have stepped into a musical experiment. Yes, this is an album and the songs flow together, but at the same time no song sounds the same. PVRIS has created a beautifully haunting album that can be listened to in its entirety and you will be impressed and blown away by each individual song. This type of talent is very unique and hard to find in most of our mainstream music.