I was introduced to a little group called PVRIS by a good friend of mine last summer, and their Acoustic EP cast a breath of fresh air in my music library. PVRIS, pronounced Paris, is a three piece pop-rock group from Lowell, Massachusetts. The band is one of the more recent additions to the Rise Records family, effectively following the label’s recent trend of spreading their musical branches even further from their metalcore-centered roots.
PVRIS began their journey as a post-hardcore band, which makes their current status as a pop-rock group somewhat surprising if you don’t take into account their recent signing to a major label. Rise undoubtedly altered the band’s sound to some extent, and their debut LP, White Noise, is a pop-infused riot. I’m not ashamed to admit that I wrote them off after the album’s first single, “St. Patrick’s Day,” was released. The synth-backed, bass-heavy party ballad took the band’s music in a whole new direction. It’s still my least favorite song on the album, but what I disliked more was that Rise was probably behind it all. PVRIS has potential to be the label’s Paramore, and by introducing them with a radio-friendly track that will appeal to the masses, they risked alienating the band’s small but loyal fan base.
It wasn’t until the album’s second single, “My House,” was released that I caught onto what PVRIS was becoming. Rise may have had an influence on their current sound, but even so, PVRIS delivers. The track, as well as the rest of the album, has varying degrees of electronic effects, but the band is still there under it all. Lyndsey Gunnulfsen’s vocals pierce through the soundscape with raw emotion and peak with high notes.
Unexpectedly, considering my reaction to “St. Patrick’s Day,” some of my favorite tracks on the album are more electronically influenced. White Noise’s title track, as well as the album’s seventh track, “Eyelids,” are powerful and very well written and produced. It will be interesting to see how the band incorporates these songs with heavier hitters like “Let Them In” and “Fire” at their live performances. PVRIS has even gone and released acoustic versions of three tracks from White Noise leading up to the album’s release, entitled “The Empty Room Sessions,” that harken back to the sound of their Acoustic EP.
PVRIS has done more than sign on to a major label and continue with their previous sound; they have shown that they have evolved, and whether by force of hand or not, I can’t be happier with where they are now. Gunnulfsen’s vocals and talent for writing catchy hooks carry the album, and even though I might not vibe with every track on the LP, I can’t deny that they all have that required memorable chorus to cling onto. Lyrics like “I wanna feel something that’s not the touch of your breath on my neck. I wanna feel something that’s not the weight of your world in my head. 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” leave me assured that I’m not listening to mindless pop music, even though the sound may stray towards the mainstream at some points on the album.
Overall, I applaud PVRIS for pulling through after I prematurely wrote them off. White Noise is a promising album that leaves me hopeful and excited for the band’s future, and content with the direction that Rise led them towards. Who knows? Maybe PVRIS will be the next Paramore…
Mike Naples is a second-year student majoring in marketing. He can be reached at MN805392@wcupa.edu.