Thursday, June 8th, 2017

Pvris – Heaven

We’re also serving you heaven, because we are the Singles Heavenbox.


Will Rivitz: I’ve been mired far too deep in the PVRIS fandom since they were Paris-with-an-A, so there’s no way I wasn’t going to slobber all over a single off a new album. Even if I were able to put my intense fanboy aside, though, I think I’d still find this to be pretty great. PVRIS are masters of interpolating visceral pop through a wintry synthpop/post-hardcore hybrid, the ghostly choir processed through mountains of subtle Auto-Tune and cymbals crashing with just the right timbre swirling around low tom rolls like an icy gale before a positively electric bassline drops in around the second verse to give the song extra momentum. It’s immaculate, using an unsettling sheen of distortion as a slight misdirection which hides the ruthlessly effective hooks lying just beneath. I love it.

Ashley John: “Heaven” begins with sparse piano and the velvet fill of Lyndsey Gunnulfsen’s voice, and it would be better off it remained that way. As synths, guitar, and drums spill in, “Heaven” whips between booming rock and cool electronic, while Lyndsey’s vocals are forced to act as the common ground. She takes the job on dutifully, but no one else in Pvris is doing her any favors, either.

Ryo Miyauchi: Pvris were eventually going to grow out their mix of Hot Topic pop-punk and Chvrches’ stadium synths — a sound of the youth in 2013. But their new attempt at more serious goth-pop only does them a disservice by muting the color that made their music so captivating.

Alfred Soto: Laden with echo and punctuated by a climax ideal for the opening credits of a Netflix original drama, “Heaven” is written and sung with an assurance that would impress me if it had stuck to two minutes as if it had been written for the opening credits of a Netflix original drama. The track has nowhere to after it climbs its first peak.

Eleanor Graham: This benefits hugely from not considering itself too edgelord for finger snaps in the first verse and acoustic guitar in the second. The second is highly enjoyable — that “all I do is suffer” hits exactly like it should, albeit in a fairly emotional-climax-of-a-Disney-movie way, and despite a grapple with a British accent that ends, tragically, in “sofa.” All she does is sofaaaaaa. But the line that comprises very nearly the entirety of the song’s second half isn’t strong enough to take it anywhere interesting and is just harsh enough to ruin those pleasantly post-nuclear ghost-voices. All the racing drums do is make you want to put on “Waste A Moment” and actually feel something.

Katie Gill: Somebody needs to do an in-depth look at the 8tracks fanmix subculture. There’s a preference for ‘dark’ sounding songs about love and loss, things that are languid and murky, Bastille mixed with Florence Welch mixed with Woodkid. Anyway, this is that aesthetic run through a layer of white noise with the volume turned WAY up. If this were a bit softer, it’d be inescapable. Thankfully, it’s loud enough and powerful to be distinctive.

Thomas Inskeep: If you can make it through the first verse and chorus, it gets better. Initially I thought this was yet another “good rock band goes all bombastic EDM-pop” casualty, but it’s not quite that bad. But this doesn’t rock anywhere like I hoped it would, either. The lyrics are emo, but the presentation isn’t. 

Nortey Dowuona: This is somehow considered deep. Or profound. Or even good. No. It’s fast Adele-chomping that never grows up into its own song. Heck, Twenty One Pilots are better than this. Lil Yachty pathetically sliding over flat, robotic 80’s disco is better than this. This is the music you make when you like to read deep things but yourself are not either deep or interesting.

Micha Cavaseno: Pvris as a band are clearly working their hardest to snag in as many influences as possible, which is not the worst thing in the world. At points I’m hearing Lana del Rey, Evanescence, Imagine Dragons, the xx, early Weeknd, Ellie Goulding and dredg… Things that individually, I’ve either grown much less fond of or never cared for at all. Altogether yes, there’s a dreariness and a stoicism that is a little bit overwrought, but there’s a sense of ambition that shows they want to do a lot. I particularly love the synthy bits on the end of the first verse, as well as the stylistic switch on the second verse from ballad to rocker, and the extra bit of vocal grit on singer Lyndsey Gunnulfsen betrays her metalcore past in a cool way.

Scott Mildenhall: Taking the opening two and a half minutes at a remove may leave this almost punchy, but that’s not the whole story. There’s a bad, labouring element throughout it that makes it bring to mind a less compact version of one of those female-led, big-vocal, small-impact Eurovision semi-finalists. Snatches of memorable melody and occasional gusts of gusto, sure, but there’s no need for it to go on.

Hannah Jocelyn: Oh man, this is awesome. PVRIS’ record label is more known for releasing loud, polished post-hardcore music, but “Heaven” is hooky and atmospheric in a more mature way – the effect is somewhat like modern-day pop Paramore retooling a song from their early albums. Especially with that bassline. Some other names come to mind throughout; the echoing backing vocals bring to mind Meg Myers (the two would make a great touring pair), and the breakdown midway through even recalls Foals at their most widescreen. By the time the song reaches that breakdown, though, it’s clear PVRIS have synthesized whatever actual influences they had into something that breathlessly transcends both their labelmates and their current touring mates. About that; they’re opening for Muse and 30 Seconds to Mars later this summer, but “Heaven” is as big as – and again, more mature in its craft than – anyone else on that bill.

Stephen Eisermann: This song reminds me so much of Amy Lee Evanescence, and I love Amy Lee Evanescence. The way that AWAYYYYYYYYYAAYYYYYAYYYY is sung is magical and empowering and cathartic, but the lyrics leave me wondering why exactly I should feel so cathartic. I know it’s a minimal thing, but it’s so hard to get behind a song with a chorus this cathartic if I’m never told what is leading to this catharsis. From what I gather, it seems like an extremely toxic relationship, but why? Was it abusive? Did he/she cheat? I don’t know, but as long as the chorus remains the primary focus I’ll be singing along. 

Katherine St Asaph: Approximately a 70% chance of joining The Birthday Massacre in the grand depressing list of “bands whose shows I will be thoroughly owned by Music People for seeing,” and the big climactic line being “you took my heaven away” sure isn’t gonna be less embarrassing, but where else am I going to get my fix of “Ladytron or Client, but yearning, not hardened”?

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