Split Review: Sorority Noise / The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die

Posted: by The Editor


Although semi-officially announced months ago through interviews and humorous Twitter exchanges among the two bands, the split between the duo who loosely define what emo music is in 2016 is finally here. The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die and Sorority Noise each put out two of the best records of 2015, both of which showed tremendous growth as songwriters and placed them at the forefront of the current trend of post-emo; that is, traditional, rockier emo melded with the intricate, dynamic craftworks of the post-rock genre. Therefore, it’s fitting that the pair linked up for a project showcasing how they’ve each progressed a year later.

Earlier in 2016, Sorority Noise released the EP It Kindly Stopped For Me that was a sharp change in pace from the upbeat, self-proclaimed “rock punk” of 2015’s Joy, Departed. The four tracks on the EP were extremely quiet, minimalist, and mostly acoustic cuts that detailed frontman Cameron Boucher coming to terms with the loss of multiple friends to suicide. Although it was clearly a cathartic release for Boucher and yet another batch of eye-opening, earnest lyrics, the tracks just didn’t stack up against the band’s previous material musically, as they lacked the catchiness and energy of Joy. The question many Sorority Noise fans had was whether or not the EP was a signifier of where the band was heading musically.

On their side of the split, “Leaf Ellis” begins with soft keys and the same mumbly vocal approach Boucher took on the EP, except this song reaches a satisfying climax that wasn’t present on any of those four tracks. Similar to “Blissth” or “When I See You (Timberwolf)” from Joy, this track grows naturally from a breeze into a gust as the rhythm section, distorted guitars, and yelled vocals enter one by one. This is the loudest we’ve heard the band since Joy and it’s a gratifying conclusion to a slow-burning song, which was noticeably absent on the EP.

However, it almost seems unfair to be put up against the modern masters of such a songwriting style, because TWIABP’s contribution is an absolutely phenomenal song. The intro of “Smoke & Felt” (intentionally?) reminisces the beginning of their 2013 classic “Heartbeat In the Brain,” but with tumbling drums and crisper layers of whispy guitars and synths. It quickly diverts into a distinct direction when vocalist David Bello’s voice enters and immediately explodes forward. Although it’s a small detail, the excellent production work that placed Bello’s voice at the front of the mix makes the track feel even smoother and more refined than the buttery production that made 2015’s Harmlessness so enjoyable. It’s a real feat to get a seven-person band to sound that clear.

The track continues on with a driving groove and the classic call and response between Bello and Katie Dvorak before it does what every great TWIABP song does: seamlessly transitions into multiple movements. That’s what makes this band- and this song specifically- so interesting. The softer intro effortlessly grows, and then continues to grow without feeling like the traditional, at this point predictable, loud/soft contrast. A chugging breakdown comes through to give the crescendo its necessary heft, and then right as the track appears to be ending in a swath of ringing reverb, it cuts into a staccato, catchy guitar lick.

Although Sorority Noise are outshone on this one, each band demonstrated an advancement in their songwriting chops that further reinforces why they’re two of the most important acts in the current crop of indie-leaning emo music.


— Eli Enis | @xelienisx —