WORDS : TASH WEST
It’s a difficult thing to do, creating an album that feeds off so many varieties of genre and yet somewhat manages to create an almost brand new genre in the process. But that’s exactly what PVRIS did. The Massachusetts ensemble were originally a metalcore band, but decided to branch off into the world of electronica (amidst other woven genres)- a feat which eventually became their debut album ‘White Noise’ which was released in 2014 through Rise Records / Velocity.
This three-piece managed to harness something different here, a more haunting and windingly darker side to the sometimes more angry and anthemic side of the music scene at the time
It’s a big deal to have a debut album held up on a pedestal. A lot of touring bands take some time to fully envisage and create their “sound” and maybe achieve this by their second or third album, however Lyndsey Gunnulfsen, Alex Babinski and Brian Macdonald realised this goal in their first release. PVRIS are obviously not the first rock based band to dabble in the world of electronic music, many iconic bands have – notably The Prodigy and Nine Inch Nails are to name but a couple. However, this three piece managed to harness something different here, a more haunting and windingly darker side to the sometimes more angry and anthemic side of the music scene at the time.
Harnessing the pop and electronic elements whilst keeping within the realm of rock is what makes Pvris stand out
It’s clear that the album is heavily influenced by a number of bands, Gunnulfsen has been known to cite Florence and The Machine, Paramore, Radiohead and The Weeknd as just some of her personal influences and this is heavily encapsulated in her songwriting and audibly throughout the production of the album. ‘White Noise’ was produced by Blake Harnage (All Time Low, Colleen D’Agostino) who was originally known for being in the band VersaEmerge (or Versa which they were later known), himself and singer-songwriter Sierra Kusterbeck (Versa, Neaux, Bad Daughter) helped co-write many songs from the album.
PVRIS first came on to the scene by bagging themselves a place on Warped Tour in the USA via a competition, a critically acclaimed festival on the scene at the time and a festival which is sadly no longer with us. Warped Tour was the pinnacle of a festival at their peak by bringing and making iconic bands on the rock and pop-punk scenes of the time. So many famous bands have made their humble beginnings at this festival and PVRIS were quickly catapulted to a more mainstream audience.
PVRIS are not ones to shy away from a more “mainstream” sound, even their most recent EP ‘Hallucinations’ which was released last year has a poppier sound sewn throughout their haunting elements. Harnessing the pop and electronic elements whilst keeping within the realm of rock is what makes Pvris stand out. They are not afraid to show a poppier and more electronic element off within their songs either. ‘White Noise’ was just the introduction to their exploration of the genre. One of their more recent singles ‘Hallucinations’ came about through a co-writing session with electronic maestro Marshmallow, for example. Some of the tracks from White Noise are particularly note-worthy for their haunting electronic blending of genres. ‘Eyelids’ incorporates a lot of factors not dissimilar to the reverberated and delayed drum sounds used by such acts like Massive Attack and Portishead. Whilst ‘Holy’ sounds uses mostly bass tones to emulate the pumping rhythm that runs throughout, before eventually crescendo-ing into a powerful and raw rock anthem.
Although Pvris have only been around for seven years, it’s clear that they are pioneers on a scene which has mainly for many years been slightly overly saturated with loud distorted guitars
PVRIS paved the way for a fresh notion of how electronic music can be complicated by rock with their debut release ‘White Noise’. Although these elements have been used in the past by popular artists, the band created a modern twist which although was only released six years ago, seems to be timeless. It was fresh and unique and still is even now and although the album does not necessarily have a singular stand out theme entwined throughout, it does raise the bar for new bands coming up on the scene. More bands than ever are using electronic elements within their music, including The Maine on 2019’s ‘You Are OK’, Manchester newbies Hot Milk and You Me At Six on their latest single ‘Our House (The Mess We Made)’ are just a few examples.
Although Pvris have only been around for seven years, it’s clear that they are pioneers on a scene which has mainly for many years been slightly overly saturated with loud distorted guitars. They have helped to lead the way for rock bands making it to the “mainstream” but still not complying to the generic golden ‘pop’ rules. ‘White Noise’ helped to spark a new generation of how rock music is produced and conceived.