Review Summary: Catchy as hell, PVRIS impresses with their own brand of darker electro-pop rock.
A female-fronted rock band isn't exactly tough to find these days, with the major popularity of bands like Flyleaf and Paramore. However, bands like this are oft-criticized for sounding relatively generic and unoriginal. Enter PVRIS, a relatively new band with no full length albums and a single EP to their name. Instead of being just another mediocre rock band, PVRIS breaks out of the mold by embellishing their style of electronic pop rock with a darker undertone. White Noise is impressive for a debut, and had the sound of a band that is confident and sure of their identity.
Rock bands fronted by a woman generally feature a vocalist that has a powerful voice that isn't afraid to take risks, and PVRIS is no exception. Lead singer Lyndsey Gunnulfsen has a passionate and versatile voice that is as hard-hitting as it is subtle. Her presence on the record is immediately felt on the album, with the powerful opener "Smoke" finding Gunnulfsen pairing softer delicate lines with edgy yells as the volume ramps up. This style continues throughout the album, with Gunnulfsen carrying some of the otherwise unmemorable pieces such as "Ghosts".
The electronic elements really add some substance to songs. For instance, the pulsating synth that runs through "St. Patrick" keeps the song moving in a way that solely guitars wouldn't be able to do. However, that doesn't mean that there are no heavy guitar elements, either. The band members were previously a part of a post-hardcore outfit, Operation Guillotine, and it shows throughout the album. "Fire" highlights this history, with blaring guitars and a pounding drum beat supported by Gunnulfsen's smooth yet biting voice.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of White Noise is that the band is equally comfortable with doing softer introspective songs. "Holy" is a mysterious synth-driven number that features cutting lyrics and subtle guitar work that really brings the song together. Verses featuring sharp lines like 'Shallow, and empty, and filled with regret / I think that chest must be heavy from that cross on your neck' cut to the bone. "Eyelids" is another highlight, a song that allows Gunnulfsen to shine over a minimalistic electronic pulse before subtly building to the chorus.
At the most basic level, Gunnulfsen's stellar voice is enough to make PVRIS attractive and a fun listen. But the immersive layers of synth and guitar create some impressive soundscapes that permeate these songs, and it adds a whole new element to the album. Plus, PVRIS clearly has a knack for writing catchy choruses that stick and keep you coming back again and again. All in all, White Noise is an impressive debut from a band that looks to make significant waves in the future.