Once in a while, there comes a band that seemingly comes out of nowhere and impresses you. Rise Records is a label that is known for signing metalcore bands like Silverstein and Of Mice and Men. At Warped Tour, I got to check out a three-piece band from Massachusetts that was a hybrid of electronic and alternative rock named PVRIS. Their debut album White Noise is produced by Versa founder Blake Harnage, hence the strong accent of the band exploring both their love for rock and synth.
1) “Smoke”: “Smoke” is our first reference to fire, which in this case is used to infuse two lovers together. There’s an underlying theme with this album that we will get into later. The thing that struck me about this track was the overall confidence of it. The cleverness of rhythm guitarist Lyndsey Gunnulfsen’s lyrics are apparent and the chords from guitarist Alex Babinski are simple, but atmospheric. “I feel a fire in the back of my throat/so let’s get covered in flames and play some games with the smoke”.
2) “St. Patrick”: This is a single off of White Smoke and probably one of the most memorable songs on the album. The first forte of a mostly synth pop song showing that PVRIS can turn styles when they want to. Here, I’m becoming even more of a fan regarding the lyrical themes. They are subtle, a bit oxymoron and playful. “Feel your hands around my neck/I like the way you let me breathe instead”.
3) “My House” : There’s a marriage between the electronic and alternative rock side. I know that there are some fans that may have thought that with this album, the edge from the EP was lost. “My House” shows that you can be haunting and then rock out within the chorus and have a complete song. Another theme is mentioned here as love comprises of someone giving a part of themselves and somewhat melting into you. Gunnulfsen is pissed and “her house” (or mind) has to be purged of whomever wronged her.
4) “Holy”: There are continued echoes of a “poor, unfortunate soul”. It’s mostly a bass-driven track with dreamy synth and guitar parts. The dynamic between the lyrics and music are polar opposites because with the beauty of the track, there’s an attack on those who may feel they are holier than thou.
5) “White Noise”: Wow, the chorus is huge! Session drummer Christopher Kamrada (of There For Tomorrow) helps make these breaks of glitch pop work with strong percussion. There are little intricacies within this song as when Gunnulfsen sings, there seems to be little moves of static and glitches trying to bombard themselves. She is singing about trying to get through to someone and if you are familiar with the phenomenon of white noise, you get the paring of trying to get through to somebody.
6) “Fire”: Personally, this is my favorite track on the album and our second reference to fire. Instead of burning into each other, there’s an urge to burn everything down. “You started a fire/and you’re burning up”. The track starts with vocals and a sinister, slow brooding 808 pulse giving its hand into an all-out rock song.
7) “Eyelids”: The arrangements of this song is arranged to be in a dream-like state and the strongest “ballad” on the album, almost like a haunting Evanescence track. A great thing about this album is that every instrument plays a role and does not overpower each other. There is a chemistry between Gunnulfsen, Babinski, and MacDonald in that they compliment each other very well. The song is a tug-o’-war between day and night and having to say goodbye to someone when the sun rises. “It’s hard to say good morning with saying goodbye”.
8) “Mirrors”: The themes that were spoken in “Eyelids” are continued in this song, acting as the track’s up-tempo companion piece. There a macabre element playing through, if you take it literally, with dead eyes and floating above bodies being referenced in particular. It’s a drum-driven composition with a repeating keyboard part that personifies the diversity of White Noise.
9) “Ghosts”: The most pop-punk song on this album, “Ghosts” sounds almost like a Paramore song. It’s not a bad song at all, it’s just that with all the strong songs on the album, “Ghosts” would be the odd man out. I get why the song is on the album, and with most pop-punk records out there, it would definitely resonate. In the whole theme of White Noise, it almost filler-like.
10) “Let Them In”: You normally would think that most rock albums end on a somber note, thinking of lighters in the air and hugging your loved ones, but not this album. “Let Them In” is a burner of a closer. You see the lyrical themes of the album come to a head as when you love someone, you let them assimilate into you. I guess it did not work because this track is an urging to leave. PRVIS started cohesively and ended with Gunnulfsen’s strong vocals, Babinski’s stadium rock guitar chords, and MacDonald’s bass lines.
This is a damn good debut record. I was almost taken aback of how confident it was and made me upset that I didn’t find out about the band sooner. White Noise is just the right length and takes you through twists and turns of love, scorn, and instrumentation. I would be looking forward to their sophomore release, but I’m going to be playing this album for a long time. If it were on cassette, the tape would have been worn out by now.