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Album Reviews

Pvris. - White Noise

Released:November 4, 2014

1. Smoke
2. St. Patrick
3. My House
4. Holy
5. White Noise
6. Fire
7. Eyelids
8. Mirrors
9. Ghosts
10. Let Them In

I first heard PVRIS live on The Honeymoon Tour as a headliner for Mayday Parade. They were so high energy and had such great music that I absolutely had to look up their recently released new album, White Noise. As a whole, the album lived up to the expectations I had for this new, but talented band. It definitely has the quirks of an album, as the band tries to push and shape their boundaries to figure out what exactly their sound is. As such, some of the songs are a little bit of a miss, while others are a little bit more of a hit.

The first song on the album, "Smoke," has a pretty unique syncopation between the vocals and the instrumentals. It works though. The song has a tiny bit of island music influence, but very clearly is punk/alt rock. The heavy bass and the almost angry vocals work together to create one of the better songs on the album. It's also almost sexy, kind of like a person who looks pissed off at the world but also intriguingly attractive at the same time. "Smoke" also has one of the best fade out then returns mid song that I've heard in recent memory.

The second track, "St. Patrick" is one of my favorite songs on the album. For me, it captures those relations that you know aren't going anywhere but are exactly what you need at the moment. The vocals are a little too heavy on the consonants which takes away from the song's quality, but adds to the emotion. The chorus is distorted perfectly, not too much, not too little. The bridge is very isolated and vulnerable, both lyrically and acoustically. All but one instrument drops out for the bridge, leaving the vocalist sounding lofty and almost as if she is singing acapella.

"My House," the third track on the album, is hands down my favorite. It's the reason I looked PVRIS up after the concert and the reason they're on my wake-up playlist. The chorus is harder than than the previous songs, and they definitely upped the bass for this one. Again, the band plays with the lyrical tempo, resulting in some interesting stresses. The bridge in this song is also isolated, but in a completely different way from "St. Patrick." Instead of vulnerable, this bridge sounds powerful and independent. This song begs to be added to a running playlist, or really any sort of activity playlist. If you kickbox or dance at all, blast this song and have a great time.

I never thought I'd find an allusion to Ursula the sea-witch in a punk song, but surprise!, "Holy" features the line "poor unfortunate soul," which is fun. It's a comparatively a softer song, but really highlights just how beautiful the singer's vocals can be. She has amazing control over her voice, even in the growlier parts. Lyrically, this song is incredibly interesting and musically, it's not uninteresting. Despite the softer quality, the drums, particularly at the beginning, are almost militant, leading to another really interesting juxtaposition.

The titular song of this album has an amazingly distorted ending, but could have benefited from expanding this distortion to the bridge as well. This is actually one of my least favorite songs on the album, just because it's a vocally on the slower side. There is a plea right around 2:25 that is AH-MA-ZING, but it's followed by a pretty mediocre bridge.

"Fire" is a bit more rock than the rest of the album, but really shows just how talented the lead singer, Lyndsey Gunnulfsen, is. In my humble opinion, Lyndsey could definitely give Haley Williams a run for her money. I'd love to hear them do a duet. This song is a bit more sassy than the rest and has a distinct "strut your stuff/do what you want" kind of song. The instrumental bridge, despite not being technically advanced, feels really epic on this album, and in this song. Probably a good break up or pump up song.

"Eyelids" belongs on the soundtrack for some indie movie (give it a couple years...I bet it will be). The pre-chorus has a distorted radio sound that would be an awesome lead in to a much heavier bass, hopefully something the band will feel comfortable doing in the future. In fact, most of these songs could be improved with heavier bass and drops. As if I needed further evidence of how amazing Lyndsey is, her control over her head voice/falsetto in this song is insane. The song ends in a voicemail which is fun, but it's followed by a stupidly long fade out, so there's that.

The remainder of the album is pretty fun. "Mirrors" is a bit more sporty or clubby than the rest of the album. Lyrically, it's very high quality like the rest of the album, featuring the phrase "placebo feelings" which is intriguing. "Ghosts" is also pretty fun and upbeat. It features a little bit of a scream around the three minute mark, which is definitely appreciated. The final song on the album, "Let them in" is a little more growly than the rest and features a perfect balance between the drums and vocals.

Overall, this album shows off the strengths of PVRIS, the vocals of Lyndsey Gunnulfsen, their ability to toy with the temp of the instrumentals against the vocals, and their ability to write high quality lyrics. I look forward to future albums that take these strengths and feature them, hopefully with a little more bass. If you're in the mood for an addition to your pump-up/workout playlist, this album is definitely worth checking out.

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