Album Review: Sorority Noise – “Joy, Departed”

In 2014, The Hotelier had this break-out emo album called Homeplace, Like Noplace Is There and it was this incredible sleeper hit that rocked every music publication from Pitchfork to Absolutepunk. Sorority Noise’s Joy, Departed is that album of 2015.

And maybe I’m just comparing the two because they both fall into the same emo vein. And maybe it’s because I have a strong feeling that much like Home, Like Noplace Is There, Sorority Noise’s Joy, Departed is set to become one of my very favorite albums to be released this year. Or maybe, I just compared them because they both have commas in their titles? The world may never know.

The whole album crawls up and down from dreary, dream-like song numbers to upbeat, pop-punk dynamos with catchy choruses you can’t help but sing along to. The album opener “Blisseth” does a great job in representing the slow, somber side of Sorority Noise. It’s sad lyrics like

“Let me be the drug
that you use to fall in love,
that heroin that keeps you warm enough.
Let me sink to your skin.”

that really let you know that you’re listening to an emo record. I mean, at one point they sort of even mention Brand New? (Does “I want to be the water in your lungs” remind anyone else of “Need you like water in my lungs”?) Not that that’s a bad thing…

“Art School Wannabe” pulls in the playful almost pop-punk side of the band with it’s catchy chorus and its tongue-in-cheek lyrics like “Maybe I’m just scared to admit that / I might not be as dark as I think.” The song is as clever as it is catchy with the way it pokes fun at the entire idea of the emo genre. It’s a neat song and you can tell the band enjoyed writing it; it makes it just as fun to listen to. Not to mention the Weezer-like guitar solo toward the end is killer.

“Corrigan is similar with it’s fun quips like “I wanna be the spit that tingles on your lips” and “All i’ll ever be is the sound of grinding teeth.” And yet, they juxtapose those silly lines with heavy-hitting ones like these:

“I will never be the one you need.
I only hope to be the solid ground beneath your feet.
I will never be the turning of your leaves.
I just hope to be the one you call when you can’t sleep.”

They completely change the entire tone of the song. It works for them though. Really, just about every part of this album works. There are some lines that don’t really translate well (see: “I was your boathouse alone on a lake. /
clearing my thoughts and emptying fate.”) but really the band pulls the album together nicely.

The magnum-opus of the entire album is “Your Soft Blood.” The way the whole song propels itself from the subtle drum build-up to the distorted transition mid-way through the song is just beautiful. And honestly the lyric “I want to mean enough to someone / that they feel the need / to tell me they feel the same” is one of my favorite on the whole album. Maybe the instrumentals remind me of Brand New’s “Limousine” or maybe the song isn’t as dark as I think? Regardless, it’s definitely a track that you don’t want to skip over.

The style of the band isn’t anything revolutionary; honestly, there isn’t much new here. Yet, each and every song has a distinct flavor to it that keeps me coming back for more. Every track transitions well and each song sounds different than the next, which is really something to say in the copy/paste songwriting style of today’s music market. But what really gets me about the band is their ability to be fun and have these jovial lines that make the listener chuckle to themselves, while at the same time having deep lines that strike chords into the hearts of its listeners.

Joy, Departed is a great record; it’s clever and it’s well written. It’s balanced incredibly well and it makes the listener think. What more can you ask for in a emo record? Is it the next Pinkerton? Is is the next Deja Entendu? Time will only tell. The one thing I know for sure is that it’s a record I’ll keep coming back to.

Purchase and stream the album here.
Listen to featured track “Your Soft Blood” here:

-CM

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