Review: All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell

PVRIS are one of my favourite newer bands.  The Massachusetts three piece exploded onto the scene back in 2014 with the awesome single St. Patrick, followed up at the end of that year by their debut album, White Noise.  PVRIS’s sound combines post hardcore guitars and drumming with pop and electronic influences, seamlessly blending genres and bringing something a little bit different to the table.

White Noise is a brilliant debut record, so I was extremely excited to hear the lead single for their second album, Heaven, back in April.  You can watch the music video for the track here:

I fell in love with this track from first listen, so it’s safe to say that I had high expectations for All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell, which was released on Friday after a short delay to their original release date.  Spoiler alert: if you enjoyed the singles, then you will definitely enjoy this record.

The album opens with Heaven, which sets the tone for the rest of the record with its huge chorus.  Even though this album can’t really be described as heavy instrumentally, and although the pop and synth sound has definitely been dialled up in this latest record, PVRIS’s lyrical content has brought AWKOHAWNOH to another level.

Discussing toxic and unhealthy relationships as well as vocalist Lynn Gunn’s own mental state, this record definitely isn’t a lighthearted listen.  Lines such as “I don’t belong to anyone else” from Anyone Else and “don’t need a metaphor for you to know I’m miserable” from What’s Wrong are backed with raw emotion, Gunn firmly stepping into the role of front woman on this record.  Whilst White Noise dealt with mature lyrical themes as well, AWKOHAWNOH takes those struggles, shoves them into the spotlight and tackles them head-on.

Even amongst these heavy hitting lyrical themes, the catchy and inevitably crowd pleasing instrumentals are hard to find fault with.  Lead guitarist Alex Babinski and bass guitarist Brian MacDonald shine on this album, creating tracks which will fill dancefloors at rock clubs and energise crowds at gigs and festivals.  Highlights include the beautiful, dreamy harp at the end of Walk Alone, the crashing riffs during the chorus of No Mercy, and the up-tempo album closer Nola 1.

One criticism I have of the lead-up to AWKOHAWNOH’s release is that PVRIS have already released five out of the 10 album tracks as singles.  Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy hearing new music by the band, but the excitement of listening to a new record for the first time was dampened down slightly considering I’d already heard 50% of its content.  Maybe this means there’ll be a deluxe version of the album, like there was for White Noise?  I’ll be keeping an eye out to see if that could be a possibility.

Overall, in case it wasn’t evident from the tone of this review, I absolutely LOVE All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell.  The only downside to PVRIS releasing this masterful body of work is that there’s now yet another contender for my album of the year. You guys aren’t making my job of choosing the best record of 2017 any easier, you know.

Highlights: Anyone Else, What’s Wrong, Walk Alone, Separate

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