PVRIS
Hallucinations


4.5
superb

Review

by Aeri USER (36 Reviews)
October 27th, 2019 | 35 replies


Release Date: 10/25/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We're not close, but I still taste you.

It is with very little exaggeration that I state the following; were it not due to an ever enduring adoration of music, I would not be the person I am today.

This is hardly uncommon, when considered critically. Music is – after all – an extremely potent influence upon the society that surrounds us, and what makes my own case unique likely proves paper thin on a grander level. That being said, it is entirely what makes me… me. And every once in a while, and always completely unexpected, I am reminded of exactly why I fall in love with music again, and again.

While raised on what my parents would appropriately summarise as ”proper music” (my mother gravitated towards Guns N’ Roses and Iron Maiden, while my father preferred the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Deep Purple), the most potent memories of musical self-discovery I can recall are usually those drenched in self-reflection. From Daughter’s stunningly textured indie rock If You Leave proving intoxicatingly sombre, through to A Perfect Circle’s Stone and Echo and TT’s LoveLaws unexpectedly accompanying my very own cautionary struggle with alcoholism, certain releases throughout the years inevitably serve as symbolic memorial bookends, and PVRIS’ All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell was no different.

Similar to what proves Akira Yamaoka’s Silent Hill 2 OST so desperately alluring, All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell was a body of work that stood perfectly representative of simple, raw emotion. While Lyndsey Gunnulfsen’s aching vocals and appropriately reflective lyricism did the necessary talking, instrumentally Alex Babinski and Brian MacDonald assisted in contextualising what speaks to the deepest within the listener, and for the person I was in 2017 this was everything I needed it to be. Be it the fact that ‘Winter’ was haunting, ‘What’s Wrong’ snarled exquisitely, or that ‘Half’ was simply (and undoubtedly) f**king beautiful, All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell was a brilliantly unapologetic example of what lies beneath the deepest surface – dark and damn near perfect. And so, suitably, what should follow are Hallucinations.

Reutilising the gorgeous harp of All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell’s ‘Walk Alone’, ‘Hallucinations’ builds gently with a softly delivered lament of Gunnulfsen’s ”falling backwards – what comes after the words you said?”, but this is quickly given way to a snarling, electronically infused chorus that hits home with all the force of a punch to the face. ”Hallucinations, you occupy – my imagination’s running wild. New sensations, sweet temptations. I can’t tell what’s real and what’s…”, and in a singular, visceral moment PVRIS’ newest outing is slammed forward unapologetically. From the pulsating bassline, or the haunting synthesiser lead that occupies the bridge, ‘Hallucinations’ opens the titular EP with a promise to deliver what made All We Know of Heaven, All We Know of Hell so poignantly memorable. And it does, it really, really does.

Treading arguably familiar steps to ‘Hallucinations’ instrumentally, ‘Nightmare’ follows confidently with choppy, bass-heavy synthesisers hardly unusual compared to PVRIS’ previous outings, but Gunnufsen’s signature self-depreciative lyrical direction instead turns its attention to one akin to ‘My House’, victimising an outside influence causing harm physically and/or emotionally; ”f**k your California dreams – get away from me. Said you hated this city, but I don’t believe. Call me up someday, when you’re not high off your face, and I’ll be your baby – but now I’m your nightmare.” Thematically, ‘Nightmare’ deftly handles a self-destructive relationship with a confidence likely drawing only from bitter experience, and leads comfortably (or not) into ‘Death of Me’. Indeed, with the pained laments of ”this love looks like a loaded gun; a noose loaded around my neck – or a sweet poison the idea of love hardly seems thematically positive or even a source of comfort, and instead PVRIS do what they seemingly do best. Delivering a soundscape that relishes in visceral, uncomfortable electronics and overbearing bass tones, Gunnulfsen’s vocals are wonderfully at home here, offering exactly what made ‘Half’ so exquisitely captivating.

Changing pace, ‘Things Are Better’ instrumentally relents momentarily where the pounding electronics have so far kept pace, and instead Gunnulfsen is paired with a gentle piano and harp accompaniment. While lyrically it hardly seems much of an improvement, improvement is present emotionally and ‘Things Are Better’ likely stands as one of the most positive outings of PVRIS’ career in some time; ”sorry I broke the chain – hate to tell you things are better.” Of course, and in truly keeping with PVRIS’ form, ‘Things Are Better’ seemingly precedes what presents the most harrowing ‘Old Wounds’. Spanning little under five minutes, yet seemingly stretching further through beautifully navigating bass-heavy undercurrents, fuzzy guitar lines and gorgeously melodic inclusions of the ever-present harp, ‘Old Wounds’ final explosive scream (on behalf of the ever captivating Lyndsey Gunnulfsen) is one that poignantly lasts through to Hallucinations final seconds.

While those that hoped for a fully-fledged third PVRIS album are likely to be disappointed by the appearance of the seemingly “lesser” Hallucinations EP, this shallow disappointment is one that entirely deserves disregarding. Following the exquisite body of work that All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell is neither an easy nor light-hearted accomplishment, and as such Hallucinations feels wonderfully appropriate. From the snarling electronic backbone that drives ‘Hallucinations’, through to ‘Death of Me’s hauntingly captivating soundscape and entices lovingly with a simple, yet sombre promise ”baby, you could be the death of me.”, Hallucinations feels real, and brutally accessible. Perhaps it’s the hallucinogenic allure of a love of music that simply will not relent, or some vivid singular element of my upbringing that remains persistent in adulthood, but instead of gravitating towards music more easily digested this is what truly keeps my attention. Sure, this is hardly an opinion devoid of personal bias, but in the face of any criticism Hallucinations stands exceptionally proud as the next step in PVRIS’ portfolio.

”Close my eyes, I can’t embrace you.
We’re not close, but I still taste you.”




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user ratings (79)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Aerisavion
October 27th 2019


2771 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is probably my most personal review to date.



As always, feedback appreciated.

SteakByrnes
October 27th 2019


21476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Fuckin stellar review brother, I love this EP

Digging: Oranges - Taxonomy

Aerisavion
October 27th 2019


2771 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks buddy, appreciate you checking

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 27th 2019


20564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

how much fucking music is dropping????

Ashtiel
October 27th 2019


1090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

absolutely love "Death of Me" and "Old Wounds", the latter in particular was giving me chills on that second half. hyped as hell for the new LP

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 27th 2019


20564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not loving this as much as the harder rock edge of the last album but this is some goooooood pop

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
October 27th 2019


20564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

god there's such muscle to this

Beardog
October 27th 2019


3842 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this is so good

SheFilmsTheClouds
October 27th 2019


5 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

very solid review! the EP is excellent in every way possible

SineEclipse
October 28th 2019


98 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

glad to see PVRIS deliver yet again. Nightmare reminds me of Charli XCX's recent work, fun stuff. the pop direction fits PVRIS like a glove

trackbytrackreviews
October 28th 2019


3437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nightmare sounds like a heavier CHVRCHES to me



All the tracks are fantastic, can’t wait for the album

hobblepot
October 28th 2019


2477 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review



have to say on first listen though, i'm not nearly as enthusiastic

alamo
October 28th 2019


3409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

rules

hobblepot
October 29th 2019


2477 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

after my second listen I can safely say I enjoyed this a whole lot more, I enjoy 4/5 songs so that rating fits nicely

Lucman
October 31st 2019


4928 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Man, this BANGS. Wasn't into their last one at all but gotta hand it to em here. This is fire.

Digging: Tired Lion - Breakfast for Pathetics

Pikazilla
October 31st 2019


13215 Comments


The t/t off this was nice

chug73
November 21st 2019


4650 Comments


their last album was actually great despite Lynn's vocal problems being rather prominent.
This did nothing for me

SteakByrnes
November 21st 2019


21476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

What vocal problems

chug73
November 21st 2019


4650 Comments


She blew her voice out, has also addressed her vocal problems in a statement.
People have notcied.


SteakByrnes
November 21st 2019


21476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

She sounds good to me, I did notice a vocal shift but idk it never bothered me



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