A bigger sound and big plans for electro-rockers PVRIS

Lynn Gunn with bandmates Brian MacDonald Jr. and Alex Babinski.
Eliot Lee Hazel
Lynn Gunn with bandmates Brian MacDonald Jr. and Alex Babinski.

In the three years since the brooding electro-rockers PVRIS released their debut record, “White Noise,” a lot has happened for the Lowell-born band. There’s been endless touring both as a headlining act and as an opener for arena stars like Fall Out Boy and Twenty One Pilots, TV appearances, victories in the Boston Music Awards (including 2016 nods for Band of the Year and Song of the Year), and the amassing of a sizable, passionate fan base.

On their second album, “All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell,” PVRIS expanded its already big sound, marrying enveloping gloom with forceful beats on songs like the clamorous “What’s Wrong” and allowing singer and multi-instrumentalist Lyndsey Gunnulfsen, who goes by the stage name Lynn Gunn, to flaunt her powerful, vulnerable voice, which can slice through or melt into the gauzy, sulky mood music provided by Gunn and bandmates Alex Babinski (guitar) and Brian MacDonald Jr. (bass).

PVRIS burst out of the punk, hardcore, and metal scenes north of Boston. After their debut album’s much-heralded release, the band got right to work on new music. PVRIS recorded “Heaven” with producer-engineer Blake Harnage at Big Blue North, a church-turned-recording studio in Utica, N.Y. The acoustics and atmosphere proved to be well-suited to PVRIS’s tendencies toward grand musical gestures — and the heaven/hell dichotomy in the album’s title not only nods to where it was recorded, it echoes the album’s overarching themes. “There’s a lot of natural duality in the lyrics and the messages,” says Gunn via phone from Phoenix.


“Anyone Else,” a pounding track that pairs heavy atmospherics with a simmering beat and Gunn’s wounded vocal repeating “I don’t belong to anyone else” like a mantra is, for Gunn, a particularly satisfying example of growth, both by the band and by her personally. “The first verse is pretty endearing — I had written it about my first love that I had just left,” she says. “Things had ended, and I had that ‘you’re never going to love somebody else that way’ feeling — it was really heartfelt. Two years went by and we had to finish the song, and I didn’t feel that way anymore. I had a completely different perspective on it. It became a much bigger thing — [I was] looking for liberation from that relationship, and my relationship with our fans, and my relationship with just people in general. I was just claiming my independence back on both of those things. That was definitely a really big one for me.”

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Gunn has a producing credit on “Heaven,” working on the nuts and bolts of the album-making process alongside the Brooklyn-based producer and musician Harnage, who engineered “White Noise.” The two met when his band, the heavy pop act VersaEmerge, played shows around Boston and Worcester in the early 2010s. “I’ve had a lot of time of watching and learning from [Harnage] — I just kind of took notes the whole time,” she says. “He’s taught me so much [about] production and programming. Over the past three years, when we were on tour and I wasn’t around him, I was able to kind of put those [ideas] into practice.”

“It was really cool and surprising to me that Lynn had all these ideas and beats. She was able to take them a lot further on her own on this album,” says Harnage via phone. “She’s becoming a producer entirely on her own now, which is really, really cool to see.”

Thursday’s show will have a table staffed by representatives of the Ally Coalition, a Boston-based nonprofit focused on fighting discrimination against LGBTQ people.

“We linked up with them this past winter,” says Gunn, who identifies as gay. “A dollar of every ticket is donated to The Ally Coalition — that’s two grand to 2,500 [dollars] going directly to the Ally Coalition, which is incredible. At a lot of [this tour’s] shows, [the Ally Coalition will] have a local organization set up in the merch area and take any questions or concerns, or help raise awareness for what fans can do in their area to help support. I’m excited to see where else it goes.” The Ally Coalition is also partnering with Crisis Text Line, a nonprofit that offers free crisis counseling services via text message, on the tour.


The rest of PVRIS’s year is packed: The group is nominated for six more Boston Music Awards, and it can potentially repeat victories in both Band of the Year and Song of the Year; it’s opening for the spitfire alt-pop act Paramore in Mexico later this month; and it’s touring Europe in November. Gunn, meanwhile, is continuing to work on her craft — and on preserving her voice for PVRIS’s next phases.

“[I’m] finding a new way of singing that’s much healthier and much easier for nights on end,” she says. “Over the past few months I’ve been unlearning muscle memory from . . . I don’t know how many years of singing, and I’m developing a new muscle memory. I’m really excited to see where it goes. It’s a much healthier thing for me, and it’ll preserve my voice for much longer.”


With Lights, Flint Eastwood. At House of Blues, Thursday, 6:30 p.m. Tickets $30 and up. 888-693-2583,

Maura Johnston can be reached at