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PVRIS, pronounced Paris, has done something unlike any other alternative rock band, creating pop-structured songs with the meaning and vastness of the alt-rock genre.
The band’s discography is strong and incorporates style and substance – two aspects where some bands seem to struggle to incorporate.
The trio’s first full album release in 2014 brought the band to front stage, winning the Kerrang! Awards’ Best International Newcomer. In August 2017, PVRIS released its sophomore set, a darker-and-wiser album “All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell.”
The band from Massachusetts finds inspiration from Emily Dickinson’s verse: “Parting is all we know of Heaven/And all we need of Hell.” The band draws its album title from the pain of hopelessness and loss depicted in Dickinson’s poem “Parting.”
Lead singer Lynn Gunn takes on a reflective method in “All We Know,” muting the energy of the album’s predecessor but taking large strides in vulnerability. The album finds strength in revealing fears that create tracks far deeper than the ambient guitar and heavy drums.
The first track “Heaven,” is deceiving in its dreamlike atmosphere. Gunn starts off in a whisper-like tone, “Do you ever wonder, who took the light from our life? The life from our eyes?” A reflection mimicking Dickinson’s poem is torn away when Gunn rips through with her rasping roar, “You took my heaven away.” This song is catchy, but resonates to the core.
The song “What’s Wrong” is a narrative. “Two years gone, came back as some bones and so cynical.” Gunn touches on the glitz and the glamour and fame the band has been through in the past two years while on tour. Before releasing its first album, the band went through a personnel change, shifting away from metalcore tendencies. From then on, PVRIS released its first self-titled EP, its first stand-alone single, and eventually its first album, “White Noise.” All of which prompted fame and popularity, eventually propelling the band into an international tour.
The single was the first song Gunn wrote after being home from tour. “Don't need a metaphor for you to know I'm miserable, I don't need a metaphor for you to know I'm miserable,” Gunn said in an interview with Genius. She reflects that everything can seemingly be at your fingertips but that’s not where you’re going to find fulfillment. “You’re going to find fulfillment in human connection.”
A switch up from other heavy tracks, “Walk Alone” is a slower, synth heavy track. Gunn sings of toxic relationships and thus walking alone. “Darling, I always knew that we were doomed. I stay cold, feel the weight of the world, now I always, always walk alone without you.” The use of the harp at the end of the song brings the listener into a dreamlike state, possibly the same state of “walking alone.”
“Same Soul” is a predictable follow up to “Walk Alone.” Its upbeat tempo is similar to most of the album and permeates agony and anger. “I’m just a body that you used to know. I’m just somebody that you used to know.” Gunn questions several times in the song, communicating despair and aguish that comes with mindless questioning. The screams and reverb bring forth ferocity and wrath.
“All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell” is a form of therapy for Gunn. Releasing and purging negative emotions from the past two years on the road, PVRIS has made an album that critical ears should hear. The power that is created when discovering anger, analyzing fears and putting to death thoughts that once plagued you is showcased in this album. PVRIS reinforces its drive and integrity while showing how it has grown.