Thursday, November 30, 2023
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PVRIS – White Noise Review

Extra tracks are what we return to albums for, no? PVRIS and their debut release, White Noise, was given this treatment years ago – and with the release of Evergreen this year, what better excuse to go back to the electropop piece which started it all for them? White Noise is as harsh and unremitting as it is committed to its themes. It is this powerful release which presents the sombre moments as defiant, the loud pieces as soft at heart. PVRIS leaves the best off of the original release it would seem – deluxe edition opener You and I has an integral structure to it. For those heading into this and marking their first listen, there is only one place to start. 

Even the follow-up track Empty was given the boot back in 2014. These two essential electronic formations are seen in the deluxe works before the album proper begins with Smoke. Equally as incredible, Empty and You and I are, their inclusion here marks a welcome set-up. A little taster before the original works begin. There are few musicians out there who can boast a strong backlog of songs, and fewer still who can say those moments are far better than what was released. St. Patrick is a looser electronic riff and more of a coercive grasp at pop relatability and simpler messages. White Noise is an album which, occasionally, ditches its strong core for the hopeful chance at advancing into a wider pool of listeners. PVRIS balance this well enough, not as much on the original release – but the deluxe version is all you need anyway.  

PVRIS’ synthpop purview comes with flickers of nostalgic influence. White Noise is no stranger to the glory days of the electronic revolution and is keen to direct itself in the same fashion. Rock-ready My House does well to capture this feel. Likeable lightness flourishes on Holy – a track for the steadier and calmer fans of PVRIS who may feel alienated or not as in tune with the title track. It is the finest piece of her work though, and White Noise concludes with a vibrant and punk-like appeal. Paramore-adjacent tracks flicker through in the latter half. This is no trouble – who doesn’t love a bit of Paramore, after all – it does steal away from the independent vision and platform PVRIS shows in earlier moments.  

A second act which is over in a blur, muddy together and sticking as one track rather than an independent series of sounds – White Noise does not drop off toward its end but has a blink and you’ll miss it final few tracks. Nothing short, nor sweet. It has interesting facets to it, the use of a modernised electronic beat still rings true and keeps itself clear of imitation – though in this strength is a reliance on the foundations of an electronic past decades old. PRVIS adapt it well to a rocker-like structure which does not deviate too far from the genre, but enough to throw in a few surprises. Of course, the deluxe edition is superior, there the deeper cuts are found and the project feels more whole. Even with its occasional riffs in a similar range to those who came before it, PVRIS has flickers of fashioning something new throughout – something which serves rather well here.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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