ALBUM REVIEW – “White Noise” by PVRIS

Whether or not their reputation as purveyors of stock breakdown-centric metalcore was part of the inspiration for Rise Records to take on an act as different and intriguing as PVRIS can only be known to those responsible, but the signing hasn’t half caused a stir. Drawing on equal measure from shimmering gothic synthpop as driving alt-rock, they’re a hugely marketable proposition with a talented lynchpin frontwoman and both the coolness to hook the rockers and sufficient melodious clout to appeal to pop radio. Their debut full-length’s White Noise moniker belies the streamlined smoothness of an assured, well-refined collection of songs wrapped in a slick production envelope, but crucially not drained of their vigour.

Perhaps most surprisingly for a band very much rooted in pop, the focus is not so much on big, memorable choruses but the overall intensity of the soundscapes they draw together. ‘Smoke’ sets out the stall with grinding bass lines and big, echoing waves of guitar, giving life to a surprisingly understated chorus. That’s not to say vocalist Lynn Gunn isn’t a talented singer – indeed she balances power and vulnerability perfectly for what each song requires – but that this is a clear collective who put as much focus on the musical tapestries they weave as the hooks that sit on top.

The moments further inclined to the rock end of the spectrum are the most fun and immediate aspects of White Noise. Where most of the record is cerebral in approach ‘My House’ hits you right in the face with its crunching guitars and big, immediate chorus, while ‘Fire’ is similarly aggressive and consistently driving forward. Simplicity is key to the strength of PVRIS’ songcraft, from the no-fuss big rock drums to the unassuming melodic fulcrums of each track. On the other hand, this can leave something a little extra to be desired at times, as the songs don’t have the sheer elemental brilliance that defines the best no-frills popular rock music (Nirvana, Linkin Park).

More pared-back moments of the album are also very engaging, and it’s here that there’s more room for the tracks to breathe the band do show a skill in making three-dimensional music. Five-minute micro-epic ‘Eyelids’ is the best of these, coloured by ghostly synths and an ethereal vocal performance from Gunn. The balance between the more intense and restrained sides of their work is something yet to be perfected, but the title track does well in attempting to bridge the gap. White Noise is impressive in its consistency, particularly for a debut, though aside from the aforementioned ‘My House’ and whole-hearted keyboard pop strut ‘Mirrors’ hasn’t quite got enough solid gold standout tunes to make this a truly seminal record.

A uniformly strong debut, White Noise is to be particularly commended for its perfectly judged balance of rock and electropop, a seemingly natural fusion for PVRIS to be forming. It’s not at all difficult to imagine big things on the horizon for this young trio, whose first complete statement of intent shows clear raw potential and a knack for quality control that many bands in the early stages of their development lack. Fans of everything from 30 Seconds to Mars and Muse to Lady Gaga and Hurts could find themselves dipping their toes in these waters and wanting to immerse themselves further, and any artist with that kind of crossover potential is worth keeping an eye on.

Rating: 7 / 10

[Michael Bird]

Read our interview with PVRIS and view our gallery of their performance alongside Mayday Parade, Tonight Alive and Major League.

‘St. Patrick’

 

PVRIS

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  1. PVRIS and Mallory Knox Added As Support To Second Leg Of Pierce The Veil and Sleeping With Sirens Tour | RichardThinks.Org - November 10, 2014

    […] second leg of the tour can be seen below, which date will you be attending? Be sure to check out our review of “White Noise”, the debut album from PVRIS now. Also be sure to tune in to our interview with PVRIS as […]

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