LP Review; PVRIS: “Use Me”

The Album:

This release jumping into the music scene is a pretty big deal since PVRIS hasn’t released a full-length record since 2017. They gave us a taste of this release in 2019 with their EP because the majority of the tracks on the EP made the final cut for this 2020 LP. So, let’s dive in to see what musical experience PVRIS has crafted. From the jump, it can be said that PVRIS took the musical intent that they established in their 2019 EP and are driving it to the next level. In the EP, audience members heard a clear shift in sound, for the foundations of their work remained solid in terms of the alt-pop and alternative musical genres; however, the content that layered over-top of that felt more related to the dance and the plain pop musical genres. Not only has this remained, but it was extrapolated on in this release. Within this release, it is evident that the band used the EP as a transitional work to fully morph their sound. During the White Noise era of the band, they strived to bring the dance vibe to the alternative pop scene. Now, it feels as if the band is fully shifting their sound to form to the radio stereotype. Yes, there are moments of that edgy nature that alternative music drives on, but the majority of the work centers around electronics, heavy juxtapositions of silence and sound to lead the ear towards a lyrical line versus a breakdown, and the vibe of the record feels relaxed, which is a result of the layered electronics versus heavily attacked instrumentation. In general, I would say that the album is consistent to the new vision of music through the PVRIS lens. The streamlined electronic bass thrives on a groove that is established near the beginning of each track. This is then used as the primary support system, so that the vocal line can become the main event for the work. Overall, I am giving this album a 3.5 out of 5 stars. When the materials were presented on the EP, they felt fresh and new for the band while still connecting us to the sound that set PVRIS apart from the masses. When putting this into the context of a full-length release, everything gets washed up in the mix because not much sticks out to be overtly memorable. The music found on the make is striking, but I can’t say it holds retention.

Top Tracks:

“Death of Me”, “Old Wounds”, and “Hallucinations”

As one listens to the record, it is evident that a lot of the tracks resonate in the same light, so selecting which works pushed the album forward was sort of tricky. These three made the cut, for when one listens intently to the record, they are the ones that drive an undeniably successful groove that just make people want to sway and dance along. If you’re looking for a summarization of this work- I would start here.

The Artwork:

At first glance, it can be said that the album artwork fits the aesthetic that is the PVRIS brand, but in an innovative light. This is seen through the black and white color scheme that is tradition for the band. The elevation occurs by including the vulnerable image of the lead singer with the pop art; collage CD bar code that is pasted over one of her eyes. The cover provides a strong start, but let’s dive in to see the connection between the two. As one listens to the record, it is evident that the thematic center, lyrically speaking, speaks about being down, reflective, drained- with a dash of hope. This is seen through the emotion of the singer on the cover, for as one looks at the cover, you can feel the vulnerability and the open-emotive nature that is speaking from her image. This theme connecting to the lyrics as their presented, help the listener to feel safe to be more open with emotions as one listens through the make. This connection is something that helps to drive the conceptual aspect of this album more so than the physical music. That is the primary connection that the cover art and the music on the inside holds. One could argue that the pasted, pop art flair connects to the innovative spin on the band’s sound, which is a possibility, but there isn’t enough evidence to truly drive that point home. The thematic connection of this album does help to bring the full mission of the record to light, which enhances its musical experience as a whole.

*”Use Me” was released on August 28th, 2020 through Warner Records Inc.

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