by Rory McArthur – @RoryMeep
Sorority Noise have never needed long to leave their mark. Debut record Forgettable clocked in at just 21 minutes, with the superb follow-up Joy, Departed just breaking the half hour mark. You’re Not As ___ As You Think is no exception, but its 10 tracks across 30 minutes cram in more visceral emotion than most bands manage across their whole discography.
Themes of religion and death dominate, with lyricist Cameron Boucher often found questioning his faith in the face of his own personal struggles. These struggles are beautifully and articulately dealt with across every track, painting vivid pictures of grief and depression. These lyrics are delivered with incredible passion, with Boucher’s vocals ranging from quiet, crackling whispers, to cathartic roars, pouring extra emotion into already devastatingly effective songs. Opener No Halo, for example, recounts Boucher skipping the funeral of one of his closest friends, instead choosing to visit his old home. Intensely personal tales such as this are a defining feature of the record, making
for an uncomfortable and almost intrusive listen at times, but one that ultimately feels vital.
Considering the lyrical content of the tracks, they could easily all be quiet, pensive, and reflective songs in the mold of the bands It Kindly Stopped For Me EP, but this record is a different beast. Seamlessly interweaved with dark themes of the record are singalong chorus and melodies that are sure to have crowds jumping and screaming along at their packed-out gigs. Car, Where Are You? and Disappeared in particular are euphorically upbeat, yet mesh perfectly with their lyrical themes of mourning and death. A handful of tracks, such as the excellent A Portrait Of, contain soaring post-rock tinged sections, something which the band have used in the past to elevate their music beyond that of your typical ‘emo’ outfit. YNAAYT is not simply more of the same though. Gone is the guitar shred often present on the previous two records, and in its place is the sound of a band demonstrating their more restrained side. This serves as the perfect compliment to the intensely personal lyrics, and makes for tough listening on tracks First Letter From St. Sean and Second Letter From St. Julien, both odes to friends sadly lost.
Despite being a fantastic album overall, one small fault does come to mind. Across just 30 minutes, the record feels remarkably brief, with tracks such as the aforementioned Car, despite its quality, feeling as though they could have done with an extra chorus or two. This really is a nitpick, but when the rest of the album is so good, you can’t help but want a little more.
Sorority Noise are an important band. Few others so openly discuss mental health issues how Boucher does, and in light of the sad hiatus of Modern Baseball, it is vital that we champion bands such as this who are bringing these issues to light. Furthermore, when a band are doing this alongside genuinely fantastic songwriting, you can’t help but feel they’re a bit special. YNAAYT is unlikely to be the band’s crowning achievement however. With the talent they have, they should top this record, and with that will hopefully come the notoriety and wide acclaim they deserve.
Don’t let this gem go unnoticed, albums of this quality deserve to be heard.