Heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics have always been the magnetising part to emo, and while the connotations of the genre may still involve the clichéd teenager with black dyed hair among the general public, things have definitely changed. The raw emotion in an emo song is presented more subtly and intelligently, and Sorority Noise have become a fine representation of how to do it well. It’s no secret that vocalist and lyricist Cam Boucher uses the band as a kind of therapy, and breakthrough record Joy, Departed (released last year), takes listeners on a true aural emotional rollercoaster. There are highs and lows, presented in the most palatable of ways. But on new four-track EP It Kindly Stopped For Me, there are next to no highs. An expulsion of emotion from Boucher concerning the loss of “a lot of friends” to suicide, It Kindly Stopped… is an acquired listen, immersing you truly in the emotion through stifled instrumentation, murmuring vocals and heart-wrenching lyrical themes.
While this EP might not be anyone’s next favourite release, it’s a hugely welcome change of pace for Sorority Noise. Electric guitars are replaced with acoustic ones, drums are tapped so lightly they’re almost inaudible and piano is brought right to the fore. The songs are quite basic too, with opener Either Way built around the same acoustic guitar riff and allowing Boucher’s defeated vocal to take prominent. His voice is hushed throughout the EP, and through it you can physically feel the same gut-wrenching pain he is. The grief is the main player here, especially in Fource where you can hear Boucher’s voice crack and vary between half-singing and reassuring himself he’ll be okay in spoken form. The way the emotion has been woven in so it can be felt so strongly just by listening is truly an artform.
It’s hard to say whether existing Sorority Noise fans will automatically love this EP. While there are equally hushed songs on their previous releases, there’s usually been a balance of bouncier, more uplifting songs to go with them. It’d be easy to label It Kindly Stopped… as boring, especially as each of the tracks remain pretty monotone until closer XC hits and builds to a beautiful, yet still hushed cresendo. But it’s the meaning behind the release that makes it so meaningful, and while the band have clearly gotten some catharsis from this, it’s definitely going to be a hidden gem in their back catalogue.
For fans of: Modern Baseball, Seahaven, The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die
Words by Georgia Jackson
‘It Kindly Stopped For Me’ by Sorority Noise is out now on Topshelf Records.