White Noise

Written by: TL on 06/01/2015 18:07:59

As 2015 breathes in deep and prepares to lay the mainstay of its releases on us, there's still a slight grace period where we have time to look back on a few worthy releases from 2014. A new group whose name got bounced around some online the past year, is Massachusetts trio PVRIS, whose debut album "White Noise" met considerable attention and whose name - in case you're wondering - is written like this because it was changed from plain "Paris" due to legal concerns.

Between the group's three members - Alex Babinski, Brian MacDonald, Lyndsey Gunnulfsen (who also goes by Lynn Gunn), their session drummer Christopher Kamrada (from There For Tomorrow) and their producer, Versa's Blake Harnage - "White Noise" has been created as a record that ignores any traditional restrictions between the genres of rock and electronic pop, swaying confidently back and forth between the two. You can't help but to wonder how much of it is due to Harnage's influence, but his own band (which some may know better as VersaEmerge) is a clear point of comparison for the sound here. Paramore is another that people will likely be reaching for, but PVRIS is less cutesy, more icy, even if their dramatic tunes go as efficiently about things as Hayley Williams and her friends do.

In true pop record style then, it's no surprise that "White Noise" is frontloaded with its most potent singles, with the triplet from track two to four - "St. Patrick", "My House" and "Holy" - flexing their qualities particularly well. The melodies are instantly catchy and the arrangements routinely dynamic in the way only expert songwriters make them, keeping things solid in songs that thrive on the dynamic between the characteristic atmosphere and Gunn's exemplary vocal performance. She retains an edge at the cusp of her delivery that gives her personality beyond that of your average pop/EDM track vocalist, and varies well between the soft and elegant and the passionate and strained.

The divisive quality to "White Noise" is really its main storyline though, because it is a record that sounds completely committed to being modern. Elements from pop and EDM are as fully deployed in the well-crafted soundscape as guitars, and some will argue that the band is neither here nor there, while others commend them for bridging the gap so well. The way the songs work in terms of setup and payoff is textbook for both pop and rock though, and it will likely only serve PVRIS well that their songs sound as fitting for venues as for clubs, with even more 'rock-ish' tracks like "Fire" and "Let Them In" sounding like they'd work fine for the dancefloor.

Except for stubborn views on genres then, there's no reason to not embrace the hype growing around PVRIS, because their album is a fairly consistent listen, with only slight decreases in quality as it proceeds across its ten tracks. It's worth noting though, that with such a good stylistic expression established, the band has the perfect platform to get more ambitious with their songs moving forward, as "White Noise" does get to feeling a bit safe and formulaic - albeit still enjoyable - as things go on. That said, denying its competency as a debut would be silly, as the trio sounds fully poised to go places career-wise, so if nothing else you should check out the highlights while expecting to see this band touring with reputable others in the near future.

Download: My House, St. Patrick, Holy
For The Fans Of: VersaEmerge, Marmozets, Paramore, Thirty Seconds To Mars
Listen: facebook.com/PVRISBandMa

Release date 04.11.2014
Rise Records

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