Sorority Noise Gives The Gift Of Emotional Purity On Joy, Departed.
Guys, I had a moment with this one. It really…. I was just…. Wow.
I know that was a weird way to start a review and probably doesn’t make much sense, but let me explain. And stay with me because things are about to get a little heady. Hypothetically, the ultimate goal of consuming any form of art is to tether a connection with the artist. To, for a brief moment, transcend distance, culture, language, and race and share in someone else’s experience. Let it envelop you and tug on your heartstrings. Let it remind you of parallels in your own life. Be affected. I’m not going to lie Joy, Departed by Sorority Noise did that. It fucked with me. It got into my head and by the end had me close to tears. No joke. I really connected to the band, got sucked up into the lead singer’s story, and rooted for him to succeed. Sadly. it ends abruptly and with heartbreak which left me wandering around a grocery store reconsidering my life choices for about half an hour.
The album starts off soft, dreamy, and distant. It reminds of being groggy and half asleep. The lyrics begin. “Let me be your drug that you use to fall in love” I start thinking about my ex. I wonder what she’s up to. If she’s happy.”The heroin that keeps you warm enough” We stopped talking after the break up and I’ve always regretted that. “Let me sink to your skin, like water in a wound” It still bugs me how quickly two people can become strangers. After all the time you spend in each other’s lives you’d think there’d be more. “I want to be the water in your lungs. That let’s you know you are drowning.” That’s life, I guess. A series of different people and set pieces working their way through your ever-shifting world. Let me hide in your neck With every regret”. And if change is the only real constant in life then maybe we shouldn’t dwell on the things we lost. Maybe we should relish in the memories and appreciate the time we had together, however brief that may have been. “And why do I still compare everyone that I love to the way I loved you?” But why do I still compare everyone I love to the way I loved her?
So, as you can see, this in the kind of headspace “Joy, Departed” left me in. I’m curious to see if 24OurMusic will compensate me for the impending therapist’s bills.
Blissth is sweet, sappy, and radiates emotional honesty. I continuously get overtaken by the delicate keys and soothing sound of violin. It’s a beautifully orchestrated and overwhelmingly dramatic piece that wouldn’t be entirely out of place in a musical. The band takes time to build up to a guitar-heavy climax which can’t help but bring a smile to my face. It’s a track riddled with sadness but somehow still upbeat. And contains the kind of angst that makes me want to dance all my emotions out in an abandoned warehouse. As an introduction, Blissth works to set up the core narrative of this album: a man grieving the end of a relationship. The outro drives this point home while simultaneously hinting at the recurring theme of the protagonists inability to sleep. “You’ll always be like a nightmare to me. And I’ll always be begging for sleep”
The second track feels a little more “Green Day” than the rest. Don’t get me wrong, Corrigan is still chalk full of those instrumentally diverse moments that often define Sorority Noise as a band, it just seems like they’re leaning a little more towards an older style. I will say, they do it well though. The song is a toe-tapper and transports me back to a time when we as a culture were unsure if Ross would ever end up with Rachel (Spoilers: He DOES!! SHE GETS OFF THE PLANE Y’ALL!!!) Lyrically, it’s functions as an extension of the first track. Lead singer Cameron Butcher struggles to define his place in his ex’s life, ultimately realizing he may not mean as much to her as she did to him.
The abstract lyrics of Fluorescent Black makes it a hard song to pin down thematically, but pacing wise the track is really well defined. It starts solemn and intimate and progressively blossoms into a folk inspired “pour your heart out” type song. It continues working its way up to a cathartic uplifting ending before fading out elegantly. The whole thing feels grand and orchestrated, which is starting to seem like Sorority Noise’s wheelhouse.
Nolsey contains one of my favourite lines on the entire album “I suppose, in this ever-growing search for love I’ll transcend all my clothes and become bare”. That’s such an interestingly poetic way describe intimacy; the concept of being open and exposed to each other both literally and metaphorically. It’s a really uplifting lyric in an otherwise dark song. Cameron is getting worse. He isn’t sleeping anymore and becoming delusional. He’ll convince himself of anything to feel loved again. “(I know) you’ll never love me I’ll pretend that you love me” I really like how vocals have speak-sing quality that’s reminiscent of Cake or Sublime. The conversational style forces you to pay attention to the words. Shout out to the bassist and drummer on this track. They feel present and those falsetto harmonies really punctuate that instrumental break. I think it’s also noteworthy to say this is the first reference to Carmon’s past drug use.
So, here we are at the mid-point. Since the beginning of this journey our trajectory has been angled downwards. We’ve been sinking while desperately trying to grab of hold delusions and “what-if’s” to keep us afloat. Sadly, we’ve finally hit bottom. The sea floor. A place of infinite darkness. I know. It sucks, but don’t worry. It’s usually at our lowest that we’re giving the most potential to grow. Your Soft Blood starts solum and ghostly, almost sounding like a something Pink Floyd would have made. The composition of the music conveys tons of emotion even before the lyrics even start. Creepy, layered, vocals riddle me with a anxiety. I feel for Cameron. He’s alone and just wants to feel loved. The drums kick in and my heart start beating heavily. It’s really an emotional journey. I may be looking too far into this song, but I can’t help but notice an interesting duality. The vocals are soft-spoken and reserved, but the music is chaotic and metal-inspired. Does this represent a character who quiet on the outside but a mess of emotion angst on the inside?
Well then…things kind of take turn in Art School Wannabe. I’m sure this song gets referenced a lot because it seems like a “emo” band finally admitting that all their doom and gloom maybe be somewhat immature and inflated. And don’t get me wrong, on a lot of levels that’s true, but I also think there’s a dark underbelly to this piece. In some ways, we’ve reached the emotional equivalent of the eye of a hurricane. It may seem sunny and beautiful outside, but we’re only moments away from gale force winds. Otherwise, it is actually nice to se him be hopeful and positive for a change, as the song acts as the first kink in his depressive armour.
If the last song was full of hope and somewhat manic, then Fuchsia is despair ridden and depressive. Maybe it’s representative of the ups and down when struggling with depression. How one second the world can seem like a hopeful, joyful place, but the next you’re falling again. I love this track. There’s so much pain in his voice, and I can really feel it. This is also the first time we hear a female singing on Joy, Departed. Is that supposed to be her? The girl this album is about? It makes me wonder if she’s doing just any better than Cameron? If this track indicates her falling back into heroin too? The song ends with “Stoner veins I’m feigning death. I’m losing breath. And sense of time” Don’t give up, Cameron! Keep fighting. You can beat this! I believe in you!
Fuck! He’s using again. Although, it doesn’t seem to be the moment of intense sadness or defeat I was expecting. Actually, If anything he sounds…happy. The overall ideology of this song is a little confusing. Is heroin the good guy here? Is that what it took to break Cameron from the restraints of his depression? To make him start sleeping again? To make him fall in love? If so, that makes Using Again probably the most unique song on the subject matter ever written. It’s a really catchy tune and uber positive, but more importantly it’s also the first time we hear Cameron start loving himself. This album has been so reliant on grieving the loss of other people, that it feels triumphant when he’s finally starts focusing on self-improvement. Although, I can’t help but wonder if this is all just the drugs talking? That maybe this newfound self-love is hollow?
We’ve come to find out the world isn’t so black and white. That good and bad are merely arbitrary terms that stem from our need to feel like the ultimate deciders of what’s right and wrong. Cameron may have started using again, but it’s lead to growth and maturity. He’s taking responsibility for himself and accepting that he’s not perfect. That he may not always be happy or well adjusted, and that might be okay. The chorus suggests that he tried calling his ex to apologize for all the things her put her through, but chose to hang up after releasing that he might not be sorry. Why should he apologize for being himself? For having feelings and struggling with them? Mononokay is an upbeat song that comes in riding the energy from the previous track. I’d like to note that I really like how Sorrily Noise’s lyrics often don’t rhyme. It’s an interesting choice that makes their songs feel more direct and spoken like a monologue.
Here we are the at the end of our story. I’ll start by saying this song still hurts me. Even as I sit here writing this review, playing When I See You (Timberwolf)” off my laptop for the 10th time, I feel a stinging in my chest. It’s a piece really drives the album home. Cameron’s vocals are pure and honest and you can hear the raw emotion and tenderness his voice. The words are so fucking powerful and leave so many questions unanswered… I’m overwhelmed. What happened? Who was she? Did she die? Whatever did transpire has broken any remaining faith Cameron once had in her. He’s realizing that she might not be the person he once loved. I really like the line “You smell like hospital”, the wording paints a really sensory evoking image.
For a brief moment I think the song is over but then large overwhelming blasts of sound surround me. It feels like of everything Cameron’s been holding up inside has finally reached a point of critical mass and is now exploding out of him. He’s become a supernova of emotional distress. It makes me tense. I’m nervous. I want to think he’ll be okay, but tone of the ending seems to indicate otherwise. I finish the album unsettled and wandering aimlessly around a grocery store. Thanks for the experience “Sorority Noise” it was something else.