“A fearless creative with a penchant for all things mystical and macabre.” Your essential guide to every PVRIS album

PVRIS discography
(Image credit: Various)

Initially formed as a five-piece metalcore band under the gnarly name Operation Guillotine, over the last fifteen years Massachusetts’ PVRIS have morphed into a bold creative force.

Driven by multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Lyndsey Gunnulfsen - a fearless creative with a penchant for all things mystical and macabre - the project has undergone several evolutions. From writing synth-fuelled pop-rock break-up anthems to philosophical musings on the industry she has come to dominate, the 30-year-old’s triumphant journey with PVRIS has never been predictable, and remains full of promise and possibility.

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White Noise (Rise Records, 2014)

A debut that flips between tear-jerking reflections on a messy break-up and dance floor-filling synth refrains, White Noise is perhaps the perfect representation of the emotional whiplash that follows the end of a relationship. A series of empowering odes to losing yourself and finding yourself again, it begins, with the slow-building Smoke, awash with desperation, but by the time the pulsating electronics of poltergeist-themed pop banger My House kick in the time for wallowing is over. 

Unravelling the complications of accepting the realities of your life choices in wickedly anthemic style, the electro pop-punk album was produced by Floridian musician Blake Harnage, who Gunnulfsen has credited with introducing her to electronic music. A bold statement - released at a time where electronic and pop influences were far from the coolest sounds to bring to the Vans Warped Tour stages - it set the mission statement for PVRIS in motion. Undeniable pop songs with a snarling post-hardcore bite, cuts like the fist-pumping St. Patrick and the scathing, guitar-driven Fire feel big enough to fill out arenas, whilst the less confronting likes of Eyelids and Holy demonstrate a restraint that allows Gunnulfsen’s emotion to take centre stage. 

Daring the alternative scene to take risks and step outside of its riff-laden formulaic confinements, it’s the sound of reinvention... and catchy as hell. 

All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell (Rise Records, 2017)

Following a debut album laden with references to ghosts and spiritual speculations, it made perfect sense that PVRIS’ second full-length was recorded in an allegedly haunted church in upstate New York. Ramping up the darkness, and presented with a somewhat melodramatic album title derived from an Emily Dickinson poem, on album two the Massachusetts trio proved that there was more to their sound than rock-influenced pop bangers. Navigating life’s highest of highs, lowest of lows, and all the undefined occurrences that lie in between, it's a record of sheer catharsis. 

Re-united with Harnage, it was instantly noticeable that in in the years since the release of White Noise, PVRIS had learned a lot. With acclaim for their debut album leading them to support scene heavyweights Fall Out Boy and Bring Me The Horizon, hopping off the tour bus only to slot in festival sets or late night US TV talk shows, they had to grow up fast, and on this record it shows. 

From the heart-on-sleeve confession of opener Heaven to the hair-raising, up-tempo cut No Mercy, these songs ooze with a crystal-clear confidence. Gunnulfsen found her stride as a lyricist in the record’s dark, sexy soundscapes, Anyone Else and What’s Wrong showcasing her powerhouse vocals like never before, whilst mellower moments such as Walk Alone radiate with a newfound power. An intensification of everything they had built prior, All We Know… asserted that the trio were truly worthy of the growing hype around them.

Use Me (Warner Records, 2020)

Like many of us, as she approached her mid-twenties, Lyndsey Gunnulfsen began to feel a little more reflective. Waking up each morning in a new city thanks to a non-stop touring schedule as the band’s popularity rose, life on the road began to take a toll on her health (a diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis - a type of arthritis - came shortly before album three’s release). With no time to focus on healing, the musician decided to channel her pain the only other way she knew - songwriting. 

It’s for that reason that Use Me is PVRIS’ most personal record to date. Stepping confidently into her role as the band’s primary creative force, Gunnulfsen seized control for the project’s first release on a major label. Her face graced the album’s cover, and it's her life radiating through its eleven songs, so from this point on there was no doubt who was responsible for PVRIS’ sound. And weaving between gentle flourishes (Loveless, January Rain) and bombastic electronics (Good To Be Alive, Dead Weight), everything here, from the composition to the production - courtesy of Gunnulfsen and JT Daly - is remarkable.

A rebirth of sorts, Use Me found Gunnulfsen baring all on a life in music, setting boundaries that would define the band’s future.

Evergreen (Hopeless Records, 2023)

A word often aligned to timelessness, and a marker of enduring beauty, Evergreen is an insight into the vapid nature of the time and place we’re living in. With the world recovering from the impact of a global pandemic, and musicians twiddling their thumbs awaiting the return of touring, Gunnulfsen found herself reflecting on just what it meant to be a musician in the modern age - and most importantly, what her role in all of this has become. 

With PVRIS having switched from a major label to the California-based independent label Hopeless Records, Use Me ditches the band’s established monochrome aesthetic in favour of something much more vibrant. Inspired by the nature of her Massachusetts hometown whilst exploring during the lockdown, Gunnulfsen’s songwriting feels coloured by fresh realisations of a life without music, exploring artistry and identity in an increasingly digital age.

It’s in this realm that the idea of what PVRIS should be completely disintegrates, and the possibilities of what the project can be shine bright. From the rage-filled electro-pop glimmers of I DON’T WANNA DO THIS ANYMORE to the shrieking synths of menacing cut HYPE ZOMBIES, on album four Gunnulfsen’s growth is remarkable. Pondering the realities of fame and autonomy in a post-pandemic world, Evergreen is a reclamation of control like no other.

Freelance contributor