As the first female-fronted band signed to Rise Records, you could say PVRIS had something to prove. Well, if they did, they proved it.
Female lead singers are frequently compared to Hayley Williams of Paramore. Not so with Lynn Gunn. Gunn has the voice of an R&B singer, more like Rihanna than Williams.
On this record, her voice sounds almost eerie juxtaposed with pop-influenced instrumentals. The lyrics have the same haunted quality as Gunn’s vocals. In an interview with Idobi Radio she mentioned this connection, saying:
My brain can get kind of dark and weird, so bringing that with the whole, “I like hearing pretty things and making things that sound nice,” bringing those together makes it what it is.
Gunn’s comment brings to mind Bad Suns’ lead singer, Christo Bowman, who said something similar about his own song, “Salt.” Given that two very big up and coming bands are creating upbeat music with dark lyrics, maybe all hopefuls should take note.
PVRIS’ album begins with the song “Smoke.” The track is instantly memorable, opening with fast-paced Ed Sheeran-style syllabic lyrics. The song does not have the basic construction of the same melody verses usual in the alternative rock genre, but rather each verse has a slightly different melodic pattern . Even though “oh you’re killing me right now, I think it’s time you burn me down,” is the chorus, none of the verses share the same melody with each other. One of the three verses could be a bridge, but it’s impossible to tell. This construction adds to the disturbing quality of this song.
Every song on this album shares the same quality, but it’s revealed in different ways. Gunn begins each verse of the third track on the album, “My House,” with a slight reverb. With each passing line, the reverb fades, so by the time she reaches the chorus, she’s in complete control of her voice. The lyrics also reveal a struggle for control. “It’s my soul, it isn’t yours anymore,” she declares. Throughout the entire song Gunn strikes and uneasy balance, losing herself and regaining full control of her body and mind. This kind of complexity make White Noise an album to listen to again and again.
Without petty heartbreak or love-struck romance, the songs on this album are different than anything else out now. That’s a good thing. White Noise twists the alternative rock genre making it almost unrecognizable. I hope PVRIS keeps on this same track, cause it’s working.
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