Pvris has successfully enriched its sound.
Erupting onto the scene as potential electro-pop punk royalty with White Noise, Pvris has over the course of three years evolved to go harder on the pop and on the heavy rock. All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell is an ideal sophomore album, one that sees the band’s sound grow with their popularity. Its 10 tracks are huge, in every sense of the word; Pvris, as usual, favors epic choruses, rapturous guitar breakdowns and furious vocals from frontwoman Lynn Gunn. When the band inevitably plans arena shows in support of the album, its explosive sound will suit the stage perfectly.
Although White Noise mined dark sensibilities, All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell amps that darkness up tenfold. From opener “Heaven,” as Gunn growls in a rage, “You took my heaven away,” the album is pure intensity. In a blueprint for the rest of the album, the track opens tenderly with gentle piano, introduces finger snaps in a pseudo-R&B beat and then erupts in soaring vocals and hardcore drums. There’s a chartable buildup to these tracks, as if the anger that Gunn sings about builds to the point where she loses control and unleashes all that pent-up rage. “What’s Wrong” follows suit but in the band’s synth-pop mode, opening with a slow, beguiling guitar, nondescript drums and the line “Two years gone, came back as some bones and so cynical.” That winding synth later complements unrelenting drums, as Gunn repeatedly screams “No, I never sold my soul!”
For a whole album, Pvris doesn’t pull any punches and Gunn holds nothing back. She spits lyrics violently, riddled with accusation and no hint of guilt. Even something like “Walk Alone,” which plays up its pop and R&B roots, charts a bad breakup in twisted terms, “I always walk alone without you” delivered not with remorse but with blame. “Same Soul” mirrors this sentiment; when she rages “Just somebody that I used to love,” Gunn doesn’t sound sorry for her loss but indignant, furious with herself for falling for someone so wrong. This is an important distinction; yes, it’s a dark, moody album, but that rarely stems from sadness or regret. Those emotions have already stewed long enough to have morphed into thunderous rage.
And at least Gunn is consistent; she wants the same brutal release that she doles out at the end of a breakup, screaming her demands, “Show me no mercy/ And let it rain/ If you’re gonna make it hurt show me no mercy,” on “No Mercy.” That track is one of the heaviest on the album, layering clanging drums, driving guitars from Alex Babinski that show the band’s metalcore roots and growling albeit pop-influenced vocals from Gunn. For an album that is so attuned to emotions, though, it’s fascinating how Gunn addresses them – when not screaming. “Half” is a somewhat atypical track, aiming for more of an ethereal vibe with its cooing backing vocals and comparatively low-key delivery from Gunn. Tuning into the feeling of being emotionally disjointed – “Some days I feel everything/ Others are numbing” – Gunn resolves, “Never wanted to be here now…I can’t process what I’m feeling now/ This skin I can do without.” Very little on this album is internalized; rather, there’s always either another person to address those emotions to or an externalized reaction.
All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell is an album full of fury, and its balance of synth-pop, rock guitars and searing vocals from Gunn allow the band to explore that fury free from traditional genre sounds. It’s an expression of raw emotion that is allowed to evolve naturally, incorporating influences as it sees fit, from hardcore rock (“No Mercy”) to pop (“Nola 1”). Importantly, the album doesn’t attempt to one-up the debut or truly take the Pvris sound in another direction. Pvris has successfully enriched its sound, more deeply engaging with its various sonic influences.