Review Summary: None of us knew undergraduate girls' associations sounded like this
Sorority Noise is a slightly silly group of guys from New Hampshire and Connecticut, featuring perhaps most notably Cameron Boucher from neo-screamo band (let’s see if that term catches on) Old Gray. Unlike their skramz-y counterpart, Sorority Noise make fairly clean sounding, punk-oriented emo music. With the pale pink colored album Forgettable, the band give us nine tracks of moody, often angry tunes. The question that remains is will this album be remembered on its own or will it be overshadowed by the influx of modern emo bands trying to recreate a sound which was most popular in the ‘90s?
The band’s sound is fairly consistent throughout, with most songs including distortion-heavy guitars, simple but fitting drumming, and deep vocals that are usually low in the mix but always fully comprehensible. Boucher sings in a heavier, almost hardcore reminiscent style in songs such as Rory Shield and Dirty Ickes but is softer on Queen Anne’s Lace and Smooth Jazz. The guitar harmonies in Nick Kwas Christmas Party stands notably as well as the violin in the final two songs.
The lyrics of this album are done nicely. They lack the eloquence and poetic vibe of Old Gray’s, but fit well. They deal primarily with relationship problems, self-loathing, and in one or two songs, death. As morbid as that may sound, they are often in a somewhat ironic way that makes it seem as if they are not meant to be taken completely seriously. One of the best examples of this is on the end of Mediocre at Best, in which Cameron shouts “I spent a lot of time last year, learning that I don’t like me too” followed by a it being repeated a few times. They define themselves as “party punk” on bandcamp, so one could imagine these self-deprecating lines being shouted by teens with little thought as to how melancholy they really are. Some of the lyrics are more immature and fun, such as in Dirty Ickes. “You can call me a fool but I’ve had four girlfriends since, and I learned to love myself more than I could ever love you.” This can be seen in Blonde Hair, Black Lungs as well. “I’m so scared of dying alone that I’ll kill myself, right here, right now.” You could point out the folly of those sentiments, but what’s the point? It’s not meant to be looked at with a critical eye. The most mature moment of the album is on the second to last song, Smooth Jazz, which is apparently about someone’s death. “Am I invisible now to a friend in a hospital gown?” “So when I wake up in the morning on top of blankets fully clothed, I’ll tear death’s fingers from my throat to remind myself I’ll never be alone.” A moment has to be taken to realize the dramatic change in mood of the album on this song, and to realize Cameron Boucher’s potential with acoustic songs.
One of the most notable things about this album is its incredibly brief length. The longest track on the album is 3 minutes and 20 seconds and the record ends at a mere 21 minutes and 18 seconds. Their track lengths can be compared to Joyce Manor’s, a band of a similar genre. Seeing as Forgettable is such a short listen, it is a challenge to fully take it in. Consequentially, listing criticisms for the album feels a bit like nitpicking. The production on some songs seems a little peculiar. On Queen Anne’s Lace, the dual guitar leads seem somewhat out of place. It did not sound this way on the version of it on their previously released EP Young Luck. The echo-y, slightly lo-fi mixing of the vocals in that song as well as Still Shrill are off-putting to a degree as well. Aside from that, there is little to complain about.
Sorority Noise are definitely an interesting band in this recent movement of emo music. They have forged their own sound to separate themselves from other bands and have created a pretty great record of catchy, vaguely sad punk jams. While the album may have been a bit shorter than desired and had some questionable production here and there, it stands out as a modern emo release and should be listened to by anyone who enjoys the genre. Until we hear new material from the band, we can simply hope they solidify their sound in a way that allows them to create longer songs that are more than ~2 minute tracks that feel a bit thrown at listeners.