PVRIS offer taste of new direction with atmospheric EP “Hallucinations”

“It was a whirlwind of a year off. But at the same time, it was good. As busy and as hectic as it was, I feel like I was able to tap into some calmness. It felt good to recharge.” PVRIS lead vocalist, Lynn Gunn, told Upset Magazine back in August. The pop-punk turned moody pop band had a whirlwind touring cycle with their last album, All We Know of Heaven All We Need of Hell. Gunn found herself struggling with vocal issues, voice straining and stage fright anxiety and the general atmosphere surrounding the band at the time wasn’t the greatest. However, the Lowell, Massachusetts based band is rolling out of 2019 with a bang.

PVRIS stormed onto the pop-punk scene in 2014 with the release of their debut single, “St. Patrick” and shortly thereafter the band dropped their debut record White Noise, via Rise Records. Over the span of half a decade since they started, the band has seen a major transformation in sound and presence, after recently moving into the major label world with their forthcoming EP, Hallucinations due out Friday (10/25) via Warner Records.

Young love and heartbreak have typically been what fueled PVRIS’ sonic and lyrical fires and the inspirations are no different on the band’s newest EP. What is setting a new standard for PVRIS, however, is the complexity of their new writing and the advancement of contemporary beats heard on the new EP. The opening track the title track and previously released single, which serves as a good bridge to secure the gap between the conclusion of All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell and Hallucinations. The track blends the PVRIS staple of the harp with a fresh take on beats and more mature lyricism than we have previously seen.

Nightmare is my personal favorite track on the EP specifically because of the impeccable structure of the song itself. I know that I’ve taken a hefty portion of this review to highlight the beats that Gunn produced for this EP, but this song is a perfect example of the talent she beholds. The pre chorus in this song sent chills down my spine with the seamless combination of lyric pacing, bass and beats. The chorus of the song sees Gunn push her vocals more than in the past as she sings, “You were my baby, but now you’re my nightmare. Now I’m a nightmare” in a high pitch.

Previously released single, Death of Me follows before we approach Things Are Better, the quiet moment on the EP that is seen as a sort of pause in the groovy sounds we’ve heard so far on the record. The piano ballad allows for an intimate moment between Lynn Gunn and the listener as her emotionally charged voice tells the stories of past experiences paving the way for more positive moments. What I feel is the strongest element of this song is the keyboards that serve as an instrumental break between the chorus and the following verse. The synthesized keyboards strike a handful of chords, mimicking the tune of Gunn’s voice in the chorus.

Following in the juxtaposition of reflection and progression simultaneously, closing track Old Wounds offers listeners with the perfect, uniquely PVRIS, moody love song. “They say don’t open old wounds, but I’m gonna./ I think I could love you till the day that I die.” Sings Gunn in the chorus. Showcasing a strong blend of all sounds heard on this EP, Old Wounds is a perfect way to close out PVRIS’ first musical offering in their new period.

The Halluciantions EP sees PVRIS progressing into a refreshing take on their old sound, revamping their staple atmospheric beats and elevating them to a new level. The passionate, intimate and emotionally charged lyricism seen on this record allowed listeners to connect with Lynn Gunn in a new way given the smaller format than their previous releases. With the elevation of their entire sound, body, mind and presence, I am extremely excited to see what the future holds for PVRIS and I know they are ready to take 2020 by storm.

Header Image and EP Cover by Lindsey Byrnes

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