PVRIS, Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Evening Standard, 8 May 2017

 

Like Chvrches, PVRIS have found that a strategically placed V can give your band an instantly familiar name that is still all your own when Googling time comes. The Boston digital rock trio are rising fast, with a debut album, White Noise, from 2014 that proved popular enough for them to add more songs to it and put it out again in 2016.

Already arena ready, having supported Fall Out Boy and Bring Me the Horizon around the big venues and about to do the same service for Muse, this is the year they go overground. Two headline shows here precede a second album in August and another London visit promised for autumn, no doubt to a much larger space.

The reason is a box-ticking sound that touches on both the raw fury of hard rock and the euphoric abandon of EDM. Bassist Brian MacDonald shifted his main instrument to one side to peck at a sample pad during You And I, which piled waves of synths onto a huge chorus. Singer Lynn Gunn urged on an exceptionally passionate crowd with cries of “Jump!”, “Hands up!” and “Sing it!”

When the full band disappeared for a quieter interlude, leaving Gunn with just the echoing guitar of Alex Babinski, they came across as a Boston London Grammar. However, the frontwoman’s barked “Why can’t you stay?” during a stripped-back Ghosts showed that she’s better suited to the louder stuff.

These Kerrang! cover stars dealt in some of the signifiers of metal – all in black with frantic monochrome lighting, and Victorian street lamps lining the rear of the stage for a bit of Jack the Ripper creepiness. Yet the energy and vibrant electronics of St Patrick were pure pop fizz. Two new songs, Heaven and Half, showed the breadth of their sound, the former seeing Gunn on keyboards for some danceable lightness, the latter a tougher, guitar-led rumble.

If there sometimes seemed to be a cynicism to their polished, all bases-covered material, the adulation pointed in their direction didn’t indicate that it was a problem. These Vmericans in PVRIS are onto a good thing.

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