“It Kindly Stopped for Me” is the latest release from emo-punk band Sorority Noise and is quite the departure from their usual sound.
The band has never been afraid of injecting lines of humor and irony into serious topics such as love, loss and mental illness. The tracks “Mediocre at Best,” “Blonde Hair, Black Lungs” and “Art School Wannabe” are all infectious songs that beg to be sung in the car.
With this latest release, however, Sorority Noise slows down to address some of the same topics with a more thoughtful and sincere tone.
This quiet four-track EP is driven by its lyricism. The instrumentation is intentionally left simplistic to complement the melancholy lyrics. Although Sorority Noise is a full four-piece band, there’s never more than two or three instruments playing at any given time. This makes for a dreary atmosphere, which matches the stories that are being told perfectly.
The project starts with “Either Way,” a somber song about frontman Cameron Boucher’s struggle with manic depression and his loss of a loved one to suicide. The piano and quietly plucked guitar accompanying Boucher’s vocals are simple but beautifully executed, and really set course for the emotional upheaval the listener is about to experience.
The track “A Will” comes next and lyrically, it’s exactly that – a will. Boucher lists out all the things he plans to leave behind after his death. His breathy voice is sung over a slow piano and the cracks and pops of an old spinning record. The instrumentation timidly builds up over the course of the track just to die down again, reinforcing Boucher’s mental state.
The strangest song on this EP, “Fource,” is also the project’s emotional peak. Here, Boucher’s vocals sound as if they were recorded as he took a walk through the woods. He starts by singing gently about losing “another one.” A few lines in, his delivery devolves into talking almost incoherently, often stuttering and at times on the brink of tears.
Although, conventionally, it’s not a great song, it’s an extremely powerful listen and provides a look into Boucher’s mental state.
Boucher and his band have done a great job portraying mental illness and depression through their medium. But, I don’t see this EP as a milestone or marker of a permanent sound change for the band. This is a project that Boucher had to make for himself as a means to cope with his traumatic loss. Fans will get more of the Sorority Noise they know and love soon enough.
For now, this’ll do nicely.
“It Kindly Stopped For Me” is now available for download from iTunes and Bandcamp, and can be streamed from Spotify.
Check it out below