Ever since alt-rock band PVRIS released their debut album White Noise in 2014, fans have been dying to hear more from the American rockers. They stormed onto the music scene, as the first ever female-fronted band to sign with Rise Records, with fire (yes, pun intended) singles such as “St. Patrick” and “My House” quickly becoming adored by people all over the world.
Having been to see the band perform myself at their recent London show, it’s safe to say that I was absolutely blown away, and their supporting band Coin was not wrong in calling them the “eighth wonder of the world” on that night.
On Aug. 25, PVRIS released their sophomore album All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell to an eagerly awaiting audience, and they certainly did not disappoint. The name of the album derives from the Emily Dickinson poem known as “My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close” or “Parting,” in which Dickinson wrote, “My life closed twice before its close / Parting is all we know of heaven / And all we need of hell.”
PVRIS have been no strangers to putting their own spin on the juxtaposed themes of heaven and hell in their music. With melancholic lyrics sung above drum beats that often sound like they have a temper, there are also the occasional interludes of beautiful harp playing — definitely owing to the “heaven” side of things.
Speaking of heaven, would I really be writing honestly about this album if I forgot to mention how good lead singer Lynn Gunn’s vocals are? Yes, there is no denying that the heavenly experience of listening to the album is only enhanced by the rich and gritty vocals of Lynn Gunn, who perfectly captures the emotion that rolls out of PVRIS’ songs in heavy waves.
Whilst the idea of “heaven” is clearly covered by this — and not to mention by the incredible playing of Brian Macdonald, Alex Babinski, and of course, the angelic harp playing — the idea of “hell” may also be recognized in their use of symbolic lyrics, which often refer to things such as “bones” and “ghosts,” in addition to the dark Victorian aesthetic used in their music videos.
The convergence of heaven and hell in such a way leaves a strong sense of catharsis once the album is over. But does the experience stop there? No — you’ll likely find yourself listening to it on repeat for days (maybe even weeks, months or years!) afterward, as well.
Check out All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell by PVRIS asap (especially my favorites: “Half,” “What’s Wrong” and “Same Soul,” and well, basically the entire album), which is available to listen to on Spotify, Apple Music and iTunes!