ALL WE KNOW OF HEAVEN, ALL WE NEED OF HELL (rise) LYNN GUNN AND CO. beat the CURSE OF the SECOND ALBUM, AND their DEMONS, in ONE FELL SWOOP
IF LYNN Gunn’s demons had gotten their way,allwe Know Of Heaven,all We Need Of Hell might never have existed.after PVRIS released their stunning debut White Noise in 2014, they spent two years working towards writing and recording a follow-up. But when they got into the studio Lynn told Kerrang! she was wrapped up in a “storm cloud” and “felt completely detached and beaten down”. She went as far as saying she didn’t even want to be there.“i would wake up in the morning and not want to get out of bed,” she admitted.
But, somehow, the frontwoman turned it around, and penned a record even more dark and emotionally heavy than the last.the majority of White Noise saw Lynn wrap her feelings up in metaphor, whereas on AWKOHAWNOH her words are unflinchingly direct. She wants you to know exactly how she was feeling. Stand-out track What’s Wrong sums up that headspace best, with lines like,‘two years gone / Came back as some bones and so cynical,’ and,‘take the mirror from the wall so I can’t see myself at all / Don’t wanna see another damn inch of my skull.’ In the song’s commanding chorus, Lynn sings,‘i don’t need a metaphor for you to know I’m miserable,’ nodding to the lyrical approach taken on White Noise. On closing track Noala 1, meanwhile – the biggest departure, with its electro, chillout vibes – the singer admits she didn’t think she’d ‘pull through to 22’.
The musical progression continues on the multilayered Anyone Else, with its club beats, euphoric middle-eight, and harp outro.the ethereal harp sounds also appear on Walk Alone – with Lynn’s ‘Do we have bad blood?’ vocal melody sounding so sensuous and homely you can literally sink into it. The fluttery drums and rainfall-mimicking strings give the track an almost Asmr-effect (that’s Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response – Youtube it). Lead single Heaven, of course, is the exact brand of dark poprock that made PVRIS so mesmerising in the first place, as is No Mercy, the powerful chorus of which (‘Show me no mercy / And let it rain / Let it rain’) sounds as enormous on record as it will onstage.
It may not be as immediately accessible as White Noise, but AWKOHAWNOH’S complexity means that once it takes you over – and it will – you’ll feel enveloped by gloom in the most comforting of ways. It’s music for winter nights and rainy days (or just for when the weather feels that way in your head), with the ability to soothe a tormented soul and calm the noise one’s mind can bring.and hopefully it does the same for Lynn.
A little piece of heaven indeed. download: What’s Wrong, Heaven. For Fans of: CHVRCHES, Linkin Park.