Since first appearing in 2013, Sorority Noise have been one of the leading lights of a thriving emo-punk scene. They have always written songs about life’s most important, confusing and complex issues but on their latest album, the wonderfully titled ‘You’re Not as ____ as You Think’, there’s a clarity as their frontman Cameron Boucher opens up about anxiety, mental health and mortality – and how we all try to cope with them when they affect us in so many ways. Released on Triple Crown in the states and Big Scary Monsters over here, it’s being heralded as their best album yet…
‘No Halo’ opens the proceedings and with lyrics about how ‘I am a mess, car engulfed in flames, I am wreck’ and how ‘If there’s no rest for the wicked, I’m as evil as it gets’ you get the sense of the kind of personal places where this record will go. It’s a very Hotelier-style introduction to the album. Following this is ‘A Portrait of’ which opens with the lines ‘I’ve been feeling suicidal’ before then going on to debate the merits and validity of God. There’s a sharp sense of humour as Cameron sings with some zest ‘I’m not trying to lead him on but he’s always trying to fuck me to the tune of my favourite song’. It’s a huge topic and the atmospherics and guitar work complements this. Among Biffy-style scattershot guitars, Cameron discusses his state of mind and reveals how ‘I’ve still got some demons and they’re not going to be leaving anytime soon.’ ‘First Letter from St. Sean’ is a slow-burner that perfectly captures the hopelessness and loneliness of grief, especially when it keeps rearing its ugly head: ‘When your best friend dies and your next friend dies and your best friend’s friend takes his life, you’ll spend six months on your own because there’s no one left to talk to’.
Touchpoints we would suggest on this record range from ‘Beautiful Freak’-era Eels to Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, such is the reflective and profound nature of every song. Album highlight ‘Car’ opens with an important discussion about how people change and this is again reaffirmed in its chorus: ‘I’m sad, I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do? You said ‘care about me like you used to’. There’s a change of pace as ‘Where are You’ opens in acoustic fashion but this doesn’t last all that long. There’s an optimism running through this song as the guitars are plugged in and Cameron decides to get on with his life and push things forward: ‘I’ve got friend who’ve died but everything’s going to be alright. They’ll be with me by my side every night’. However, it’s all tinged with inescapable sadness and regret as he admits to himself ‘it gets pretty cold when at 23 years old you’ve been running from death your whole life’. The penultimate ‘Leave the Fan On’ has a cold and stark opening where Cameron asks the listener to tell him what it’s like to have emotions. It’s dark and visceral and finishes with a high-reaching post-rock climax. It’s followed up by the gentle, DIY sound of ‘New Room’ which ends the record with waltzy guitar and Cameron opening up about how it feels to not have a home.
This is a poignant listen that we feel could have the same impact on those who have lost people around them as the Modern Baseball record last year did for those living with depression. It’s a huge achievement.