As Sorority Noise’s Triple Crown Records debut and the full-length follow up to the wildly popular Joy, Departed, You’re Not As ___ As You Think is an important album. But this is a band that has never been afraid to take risks – one that has continuously pushed themselves with each new release – and it shows in their latest effort.
From the conversational nature of lyricist/vocalist Cameron Boucher’s songwriting to the open-endedness of the album’s title, Sorority Noise actively invites listeners to insert themselves into each song. Boucher frequently plays with perspective and often address listeners directly, reminding each person who hits play that they have value and that they are more than their insecurities.
Sorority Noise writes songs that are frank and candid, and in doing so, they provide a safe space for fans. Lyrics like “I’m not trying to say it’s easy/But I’m trying to say it’s fine/I’ve still got some demons/and they’re not going to be leaving any time/any time soon” (“A Portrait Of”) insist that it’s okay not to be okay as long as you keep going.
Although the sadness and uncertainty of loss and anxiety are found throughout the album, prominent in the more melancholy songs like “First Letter From St. Sean” or “Leave The Fan On,” You’re Not As ___ As You Think is a narrative tinged with hopefulness. The openness with which Boucher addresses difficult themes is cathartic in ways that so few bands are able to capture, as Sorority Noise provides an upbeat momentum throughout the album. “No Halo” is bright and fluttering, while “A Portrait Of” has a chaotic punk edge that reflects the demons Boucher sings about. “Disappeared” celebrates the little things (“I let my hair down today/I took a shower for the first time in what felt like weeks”) and “Where Are You?” boasts an airy chorus that asserts “everything’s going to be all right.”
There’s a steady balance to You’re Not As ___ As You Think. For each moment that tells you things will be okay, there is another that allows, or even encourages, you to feel vulnerable. The effect is an emotional roller coaster, similar to the disconcertion that comes with mental illness. “First Letter From St. Sean” is empty and soft and slow, a hazy look at the pain that comes from losing a friend. Later on in the album, “Leave The Fan On” addresses feelings of inadequacy amidst spacious harmonics and shoegaze-y melodies. It’s followed by closer “New Room,” whose distant and static-y vibe – like listening through an old radio – is a far cry from the more polished opener “No Halo.”
You’re Not As ___ As You Think is an album that takes time to fully unpack, but it’s also one you don’t regret spending a single minute with. The best albums are the ones that grow with you and I’m certain that this one will continue to take on new meaning for years to come. Sorority Noise has always been a band focused on moving forward and You’re Not As ___ As You Think is another step in that on-going journey towards acceptance and self-discovery.