Sorority Noise are one of the most important bands in the alternative scene. Many bands are championing the cause of social issues such as LGBT inclusion, feminism and safe spaces at live shows. These bands are doing their scenes proud with their approach to these issues, but no band is doing more for the cause of bringing mental health issues to light than Sorority Noise. With their upcoming record You’re Not As ____ As You Think, songwriter and lead vocalist Cameron Boucher is more open and honest about his own struggles than ever before.
Sorority Noise have gone through an almost Brand New-esque evolution, fitting as this newest album is produced by Mike Sapone, the man who produced the magnificent The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me. Sorority Noise’s first record, Forgettable, was catchy pop punk, their second, Joy, Departed was a mature step forward into something more likely to be referred to as emo, and with You’re Not As ____ As You Think they make even greater strides towards a mature, alternative rock sound. Their lyrics are darker, their sound is heavier and they’re well on their way to becoming something absolutely huge with this new record.
The lyrics on this album sound like a stream of consciousness, straight from Cam Boucher’s own mind with almost no editing. He spills his own thoughts on paper as though we are listening to him read from his own personal diary, and yet these thoughts come out as something absolutely beautiful. Reflecting on the past year of his life, Cam Boucher is as open as he can possibly be about his own struggles with depression and the deaths of close friends, taking us through a myriad of emotions as he struggles with experiences that are uniquely personal to him yet infinitely relatable. “I’m placing bets against myself, and honestly I’m a mess” Boucher sings of himself on ‘No Halo’, before later telling us “I took some time to myself to sort out all the things that make me feel the way that I feel” on the track ‘Disappeared’, showing us both his own self-doubt but also that sliver of hope that underlies the music of Sorority Noise, that things may be able to be sorted out in the end. Their songs tackle sensitive topics of drug addiction, depression and death in a way that is both brutally honest and eye opening. It’s refreshing to see an artist who seems to be more focused on talking about important issues and their own struggles with them than just making catchy hooks and riffs.
That said, You’re Not As ____ As You Think isn’t all about the lyrics, and there are plenty of catchy riffs to be found. To only talk about Boucher’s lyrics would be doing the contributions of the rest of the band an injustice. Sorority Noise have developed a slightly grittier, darker sound on this record than on anything they have previously released, and this plays well with the often sombre tone of the lyrics and Boucher’s delivery of them. Charlie Singer’s drums are punchy, the rhythm guitar loud and meaty and the lead cuts through nicely on tracks such as ‘Where Are You’. My only disappointment with this album is that Adam Ackerman on lead guitar doesn’t shred quite as much as he may have on an earlier record, although I think that this is necessary to create that dark, powerful tone that this record has. Special credit also has to go to bassist Ryan McKenna, who provides the subtle driving force behind every song, but also plays one of my favourite basslines I’ve heard in a while on the track ‘Leave The Fan On’, an understated, groovy little bassline that I can’t help but nod my head with.
Coming out of the Philadelphia scene, filled to the brim with great bands, must be incredibly difficult but Sorority Noise really deserve to be one of the biggest bands to come out of the scene since their friends in Modern Baseball. There are few bands as honest and open as them, and even fewer that can be both so powerful and so catchy along with this honesty. They deserve to go on to become something massive, and with an album as fantastic as this, it’s very likely they will.
You’re Not As ____ As You Think comes out March 17th, but until then, you can listen to their newest single, ‘A Better Sun’, below:
Words by Josef Smith
Photo Credit: Pat Nolan Photography