Three years after their breakthrough debut, alternative rock outfit PVRIS expanded their scope with the soaring All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell. The Lowell, Massachusetts trio hinted at this direction on "You and I" and "Empty" from the 2016 deluxe reissue of White Noise, so the polished production and streamlined pop-sense should come as no surprise to fans. Much like predecessors Paramore, PVRIS have grown from hard-hitting, punk-influenced hardcore kids into melodic powerhouses. Frontwoman Lynn Gunn's vocals remain the clearest distinguishing factor for the group -- her fiery performance on "What's Wrong" is a standout -- while guitarist Alex Babinski and bassist Brian MacDonald inject each track with a propulsive urgency. That increased intensity propels highlights like "Heaven," "Half," and "Walk Alone," the latter of which is one of a handful of songs that deftly utilize a harp. The inclusion of that angelic instrument shines a light into the gloom and moody atmospherics, lending an ethereal Florence + the Machine vibe, as it did on the aforementioned White Noise bonus, "Empty." Aside from the hard-rocking "No Mercy" -- the closest PVRIS come to the alt-punk sound of White Noise -- All We Know distinguishes itself from the 2014 debut with restraint, touches of beauty, and contemporary pop production, like a combination of That's the Spirit-era Bring Me the Horizon colliding with synth pop group Chvrches. Fans of their debut may grumble about this new direction, but PVRIS execute so well that they shouldn't have a problem attracting new fans with their hybrid pop/alt-rock sound. On All We Know, PVRIS take a crucial step on the right course toward finding their own trademark sound.
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AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung