Sorority Noise - You're Not As ___ You Think You Are (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Sorority Noise

You're Not As ___ You Think You Are (2017)

Triple Crown

If you're familiar with Sorority Noise, then you'll know what a trip Joy, Departed was a couple years ago. It deconstructed vocalist, Cam Boucher's, battle with depression, in detail. It was unflinching, brutally honest and very intimate to say the least. It's not often you get, even the emo-est of bands, to dive into such personal territory with such vulnerability. You're Not As ___ You Think You Are is just as emotionally compelling, and as the name suggests it's up to you to fill in the blanks according to your fluctuating emotional state. Boucher's words throughout take you on a journey searching for that word, starting off with 'alone', 'sad' and 'miserable'... only to barrel through to a sense of 'hope', 'optimism' and 'belief' at the end.

Famous producer, Mike Sapone, takes charge of this, and he leaves the signature of two of the most notorious bands he's ever worked with -- Taking Back Sunday and Brand New. It's a huge step for Sorority Noise as they take their indie/emo brand and channel it into music that's more mainstream and radio-friendly. Even though their new brand is still accessible, they do manage to keep their essence of old and reiterate why the emo revival is over, and why they're one of the flagbearers of the new era. "No Halo" is the best song I've heard this year with a sharp, aggressive edge that feels like it came from the mind of Jesse Lacey. It kicks off the story of Sean, one of Cam's friends who killed himself, and whose suicide Cam blocks out in his mind until the point where he shows up at his house with the intention to meet him. It's one of their fastest, most driven tracks to date and really plays on Cam's state of mind when it comes to loss. Sean plays a big part on the album, as Cam addresses multiple suicides in his life. He goes through the stages of depression again, from grief to denial to acceptance, but to get to that point, you hear him question God (well, it's more of an angry conversation), talk about drug use, and wonder what's the purpose of being here, just to lose loved ones and suffer.

The last album found him self-reflecting, introspective and pissed towards himself, but now, he's angrier and deflecting it outwards, so in that sense, it's a just as much a religious record as he wades into the concept of Her, a higher being. "A Portrait Of" is another banger, which quickly flows from soft guitar tones to a loud haze, reminiscent of the last album.  "First Letter from St. Sean", "Second Letter from St. Julien" and "Leave The Fan On" are personal testaments, and eulogies, that feel like the slower burns which Brand New churned out on tracks like "Jesus." These are the songs that cut deep and cut slowly. 

Conversely, there's a strong new-era TBS influence on songs like "Car" and "Disappeared" which are great alt. rock jams. You can hear Sapone's stamp all over it a la the last TBS record, Tidal. It's rollicking, melodic and anthemic, and feels like what Joy, Departed was missing. They're accustomed to dark lyrics over broody pop melodies but on this album, they find a more direct and catchy route of delivering. It's so fitting that Sorority Noise drops this at this moment, just when mental health issues took stabs at bands like Modern Baseball and Somos, putting both on hiatus. They're all just as crucial to this new indie/emo scene as Boucher's gang, and MoBo actually pulled out a tour with Sorority Noise. Here's to hoping these bands come back asap, kicking ass and of course, healthy!

When all's said and done, Triple Crown have unearthed another gem, rallying alongside labels like Topshelf (who put out Joy, Departed), Run For Cover, No Sleep and Tiny Engines, to name a few, with bands like The Hotelier and Runaway Brother helping craft such personal novels for emo fans like me. These are novels that, undoubtedly, bands like Sorority Noise will seek alignment with and inspiration from. They all influence each other and I can't wait to hear You're Not As ___ You Think You Are influence bands to come. It reminds me of what Geoff Rickly and Thursday did for their followers and bands obsessed with following their lead. 

With Boucher taking time from yelling his lungs out in his screamo outlet called Old Gray, let me just say, that this is a great respite to take a deep breath and feel the love the world has to offer, even if you think you are alone. Just know, that may not truly be the case.