SORORITY NOISE – ” You’re Not As _____ As You Think “

Posted: May 6, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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There are numerous quoted studies that have equated a sleepless night with being drunk, as you get the lowered inhibitions, impaired decision making, and depressed functionality, all without any of the buzz. And so Cameron Boucher’s first lyric on Sorority Noise’s third LP explains a lot of what’s to come: “This last week/I’ve slept eight hours total.” From that point forward, “You’re Not As _____ As You Think” tries to rouse itself from that despondency the best way Sorority Noise knows how: towering twin guitar leads, blinding bursts of distortion, instantly quotable lyrics where the vocals jump up an octave. It’s the kind of record that would be called “triumphant” if Boucher was in a position to enjoy any of it.

The title of Sorority Noise’s 2015 breakthrough “Joy Departed” now carries unfortunate foreshadowing. In its wake, Boucher’s friends took their own lives by way of heroin or suicide and they were memorialized on 2016’s “It Kindly Stopped for Me” EP. Sounding like he’d slept eight hours in the past six months, Boucher’s register rarely left a conversational baritone, with offhand lyrics and monologues laid over incidental guitar and piano, almost avant-garde in its unguarded immediacy. Later that year, Boucher’s pre-Sorority Noise outfit Old Gray reformed for the blood-chilling album “Slow Burn” its scalding, minute-long screamo outbursts were the polar opposite of It Kindly Stopped for Me, but it had the same white-knuckled edge to confronting death and addiction, too emotionally drained to be anything less than direct.

“You’re Not As” opener “No Halo” finds the exact midpoint between these two projects and points Sorority Noise in a bold new direction. Boucher has never been more in command of melody while in his lower register or while inhabiting his hardcore roots. But even as the band makes one last surge towards catharsis before collapsing in an exhausted heap, there’s no relief: An organ drone fades out and the next song begins with Boucher muttering, “I’ve been feeling suicidal.” Sorority Noise’s rise in stature has coincided with an increased candor about depression and mental health treatment .  The songs are in part Boucher’s attempt to eliminate the distance between himself and the listeners and show they’re all in this together.

Similar to Modern Baseball’s “Holy Ghost” , You’re Not As rushes headlong through the outside hype and internal strife, streamlining their sound rather than expanding upon it. Joy, Departed was rife with orchestral swells, florid poetry, and obtuse song titles—the sort of things that pop-punk bands typically adopt to tell fans and the world at large know they’re trying to be taken seriously. It was only in a live setting that Sorority Noise discovered their best selves: windmilling on Gibson Explorers, letting the crowd take over during the climactic lyrics of “Using,” creating something close to group therapy.

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The bulk of You’re Not As is designed for that exact purpose. Boucher nicks lyrics from his friends on “A Better Better Sun” and flatly states, “This is the part where I did cocaine to impress every one of my mouth-breathing friends.” And then comes a goddamn pick slide. Meanwhile, the midsection of “Disappeared,” “Car,” and “Where Are You?” eliminate any melody that wouldn’t qualify as a hook. They rush as quickly as possible to the part that might give someone a sense of comfort in tragedy, or at least the understanding of what it might feel like to start losing friends in your early 20s. Boucher repeatedly chooses urgency over artifice: “You say there’s a god/You say you’ve got proof/Well I’ve lost friends to heroin/So what’s your god trying to prove?” It’s a lyric he might’ve been tempted to obscure or reword on Joy, Departed, and while the blunt immediacy of You’re Not As can occasionally come off as awkward, the discomfort of honesty is easier to handle than forced poetry.

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You’re Not As might be something closer to emo’s “Tonights The Night” a matter-of-fact, insomniac wake for those who died too young by their own hand. “I’ve got friends who’ve died, but everything’s going to be be alright,” Boucher sings on “Where Are You?” and if he doesn’t actually believe it in the moment, the show must still go on. During another restless night in the van on “Car,” Boucher muses, “It’s not ideal, but I’ve never felt more alive” and the glimmer of hope in those words feels earned. Hearing these lyrics yelled back at him as a show of solidarity might finally allow him to rest easy.

Band Members
Cameron Boucher – guitar/vocals
Ryan McKenna – bass/vocals
Adam Ackerman – guitar/vocals
Charlie Singer- drums

It’s a busy spring for us. We’ll be coming back to Mainland Europe and the United Kingdom as well in May to play new music for the first time since our new album came out.

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