'You’re Not As _____ As You Think' is not as sad as you think

Sorority Noise honors heartbreak on third studio album


“You’re Not As _____ As You Think” is an incredible, emotionally piercing feat for Sorority Noise.

Sorority Noise has never been a happy band, but at least it doesn’t pretend to be. Since its debut in 2013, the indie rock / emo / punk band members have been blunt, aggressive and painfully honest about the crippling realities of their personal lives. Their masterful third release, “You’re Not As _____ As You Think,” continues this pattern while setting a new standard for melancholic yet triumphant songwriting.

The lyrical matter for “You’re Not As _____ As You Think” revolves around vocalist Cameron Boucher’s difficult past two years — which included losing multiple friends to suicide and drug overdose — while continuing his own battle against addiction and mental illness. The album also addresses controversial topics that most mainstream musicians are hesitant to explore. But despite its heartbreaking lyrics, the songs come off as relatable and almost comforting — as if Boucher is a longtime friend letting listeners in on his own painful secrets while allowing them to reflect on their own.

This balance of unchecked anger and raw, honest emotion is what sets Sorority Noise apart from other rock bands. While the lyrical content is often devastating, “You’re Not As _____ As You Think” does not push the audiences away in indulgent self-pity — rather, it invites them into an intoxicatingly personal story of setbacks and survival.

A song that epitomizes Sorority Noise’s dark style is the album’s third track, “First Letter from St. Sean.” With the line “When your best friend dies, and your next friend dies / And your best friend’s friend takes his life / And you spend six months on your own / ‘Cause there’s no one left to talk to,” Boucher barely sings the words — he practically speaks them. His voice catches over simple, ambient guitar melodies which only highlight his monologue-esque lyrics.

Despite its chilling impact, the song bleeds seamlessly into the following tracks which gradually lift in pace and muted messages of positivity. However, “Second Letter from St. Julien” picks up where “St. Sean” left off — dropping into the depths of coping with death and defeat. “St. Julien” opens with the same echoing guitar that characterizes “St. Sean,” with Boucher sounding subdued while mumbling, “You say there’s a god / And you say you’ve got proof / Well, I’ve lost friends to heroin / So what’s your god trying to prove?” The track swims in its own subtlety — an art that leaves listeners just enough time to let the harrowing lyrics deeply resonate. It’s almost too heartbreaking to keep listening.

Emblematic of Sorority Noise’s ability to balance pain and positivity with eloquent ease, the tragic tone of “St. Julien” then shifts. The pace picks up, the instruments form a riotous team of sound, and by the end of the track, Boucher’s voice and lyrics have gained a triumphant confidence — “And if you’re with god / Am I making you proud / By waking up each day? / And if you’re with god / Well, I hope you’re proud / with a smile on your face.” Rather than being haunted by his losses, Boucher honors them. Similarly, on “A Portrait Of,” Boucher chants, “I’m not trying to say it’s easy, but I’m trying to say it’s fine,” over a crescendo of drums and guitar which reach an empowering pitch.

In “You’re Not As _____ As You Think,” Sorority Noise shines a light into self-despair, discussing topics too painful for many to talk about — let alone explore through a song. Still, the band strays dramatically from the “pity party” trap in their concoction of a perfect, bittersweet blend of tragedy and triumph. Despite its members personal struggles, Sorority Noise is going to be just fine. 

related stories