PVRIS – Use Me
Released: August 27th, 2020
PVRIS Line up:
Lynn Gunn | Vocals
Brian MacDonald | Bass
We’ve all been heartbroken, personally going through the end of a six-year relationship and uprooting my entire life a few years ago was one of the hardest most challenging things I’d been through at the time. One thing that got me through was music, sad music at that; there’s nothing better than wallowing in your own emo-ness listening to music that only makes you sadder. But what about flipping that and instead, listening to empowering synth-pop that makes you feel like a boss? Sound good? Then PVRIS’ new album Use Me is for you.
The album starts strongly with the ambient/minimal ‘Gimme A Minute’. This song is just minimal bass and synths until around the two-minute mark where it erupts into a funky bridge. Keeping the dancey tracks going, the next track ‘Dead Weight’ is louder from the get go. Vocalist Lynn Gunn’s vocals are more assertive, and angrier sounding and the song leads into a super catchy chorus. Speaking to Browny earlier in the year (listen here) Gunn explained that this song is about getting rid of the toxic people in your life and setting boundaries. She explained this is a struggle for her and feels she is a people pleaser, and that is something I can relate to.
‘Stay Gold’ is up next and is one of more poppier songs on the album with another very catchy chorus. This song is so pop-sounding that honestly, it could end up picked up by commercial radio (probably sometime next year though when it has already been out for ages). ‘Good To Be Alive’ is a very RnB sounding, slower and sexier. It reminds me of something by a queen like SZA or Banks. The chorus says “It’s good to be alive but I hate my life”, and Gunn talks about having good friends that she can’t ever see. I feel like with the world the way it is at the moment, and our poor Melbourne friends still stuck in lockdown; this is a relatable statement.
Next up is ‘Death of Me’ which is my favourite song on the album. The start of this song has been described as something The Weekend or Rihanna would have on their albums, and this is a fair description; it is very poppy and catchy. But it gets fuzzy and heavy in the chorus, and I dare you to not dance during this song. It’s impossible!
‘Hallucinations’ sees the album head back into that RnB/Banks type sound and is just another danceable, great track! ‘Old Wounds’ brings the album to a heartful, slower pace. This song sounds like its full of pain and says “They say don’t open old wounds / but this brand new / they say don’t open old wounds / but I want to” and “I think I could love you until the day that you die” and man haven’t we all felt like that?
Sticking with the slow and soulful vibe ‘Loveless’ gives us an acoustic moment with gorgeous harmonies and even a cello in the background *goosebumps*. This song is my second favourite on the album, it is again something Banks/Rihanna-ish and shows the range and quality of Gunn’s voice.
‘January Rain’ takes us back to synths and is ambient and is different to the other songs on the album. Both this song and ‘Wish You well’, which has an incredible bassline from Brian MacDonald, do end up a little lost amongst the other songs. They carry on with the pop vibes so much that they don’t particularly add anything else to the album, they are good songs but don’t stand out hugely from the other pop songs on. I think ‘Wish You Well’ should have been earlier on the album because the bassline makes it such a funky song and it is a bit of shame that it is hidden towards the end of the album.
The other song on this album that is worth a mention is the title track ‘Use Me’. This song features 070 Shake who featured on Kanye’s ‘Ghost Town’ (my favourite track from his 2018 album Ye) and has gone on to release her own incredible music. 070 Shake brings slinkiness in her verse with her raspy voice, and Gunn’s high notes in the chorus are superb. This song is sexy and slinky and will get your body rolling.
Fans of PVRIS will hear the difference in this album straight away; it has a much poppier sound than anything they have done before. It feels strange to be talking about artists like The Weekend, Banks, Kanye and Sza while writing a review for Wall of Sound, but I am so glad I gave this album a listen because holy shit I am into it! It isn’t something I would have reached for, but it’s important to branch out, and alternative synth-pop is by an incredible female artist is something I am happy to get behind. Gunn said that she wanted this album to be one that everyone can connect with no matter what they are going through and I think she achieved this. I am not going through heartbreak but like so many other people, this year hasn’t been a great one for me, so I absolutely connect with this album. It makes me feel like an empowered boss bitch who can get through anything. If Gunn can get through heartbreak, Britney Spears made it through 2007, and we make it through 2020, we can get through anything! Listen to this album and know shit is going to get better and we have fucking got this!
PVRIS – Use Me track listing:
1. Gimme a Minute
2. Dead Weight
3. Stay Gold
4. Good to Be Alive
5. Death of Me
7. Old Wounds
9. January Rain
10. Use Me (feat. 070 Shake)
11. Wish You Well