Since the release of its eponymous debut extended play (EP) in 2013, PVRIS — originally an alternative-rock band that’s increasingly incorporating electronic-pop to its sound — has taken the music world by storm. Hailing from Lowell, Massachusetts, PVRIS has been able to cultivate a cult following which has now grown into a huge fan base, represented by over a million monthly listeners on Spotify. Released Oct. 25, its newest EP, “Hallucinations,” expands upon the electronic-rock sound employed in its sophomore album, “All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell,” while adding elements of pop.
The EP features five songs that encapsulate themes such as love and heartbreak. According to a lengthy post on the band’s Instagram and Twitter (@ThisIsPVRIS) by singer and multi-instrumentalist Lyndsey Gunnulfsen — better known as Lynn Gunn — all of the songs on the EP were written at different times over the past three years. Regarding the songs on the EP, Gunn said the songs don’t have an overarching connection, rather they all represent the truth she felt at the time they were written.
The songs “Nightmare” and “Old Wounds” were both written prior to the release of PVRIS’ sophomore album, “All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell,” according to Gunn’s post. Gunn also noted the struggles she had the past two years confronting her fears and learning to work amid chaos. She said these struggles made it hard to compose new lyrics in the moment, so she was inspired to compose music around lyrics she had written years prior.
“Nightmare” incorporates synthesizer-pop sounds that define this exciting, upbeat dance song. Despite its lively tempo and poppier mood, the lyrics are full of dark overtones, something PVRIS is known for. In “Old Wounds,” Gunn references the longing to return to an old love despite heartbreak with the lyrics, “They say don’t open old wounds, but I’m going to.”
The song “Death of Me” and the title track were released as singles with music videos before being re-released on the EP. “Death of Me” is characterized by Gunn’s seductive and powerful voice as she sings about the danger of being in a relationship with someone she knows isn’t good for her. Bassist Brian MacDonald plays a deep bass line that contrasts the electronic elements of the song to create a moody, upbeat feel. The video features dark, psychedelic elements with references to divination and the occult that mirror the character of the song.
Guitarist Alex Babinski plays a soft, decorative guitar riff over a steady bass beat throughout the verses of the title track, while synthesizer-pop sounds define the chorus of the song. The lyrics examine the idea of hallucinations controlling a person’s mind in comparison with the struggle of letting go of someone. The music video features hallucinatory elements reflective of the EP’s title and perhaps the “disorienting” obstacles Gunn wrote she has faced over the time composing the EP.
“Things are Better” was the final song written for the EP, composed this past spring, according to Gunn’s social media posts on the band’s Instagram and Twitter. It highlights the intricacies and beauty of Gunn’s voice as she sings over piano chords and softer tones.
Now that the “Hallucinations” EP is out, Gunn, on the band’s Instagram and Twitter, urges fans to “buckle up and get ready for the album.” In the meantime, PVRIS will play select shows in North America before heading to tour parts of Europe.
“Hallucinations” is now available to stream on Apple Music and Spotify.