by Brian J. Audette
On their sixth LP More is the Pity, The Sour Notes bring us their most stripped down release to date, but also perhaps their most rocking as well. Originally released across a succession of five limited edition 7-inch records over the course of the last year and a half, More is the Pity is finally available in a single package.
Picking up more or less where the band left off on their previous LP Darkest Sour, this latest release once again sees a more guitar-centered Sour Notes, but also one that’s still open to pushing the envelope. With a host of effects applied to both instruments and vocals, this may be the band’s most shoegazy album so far. This – coupled with the band having stripped down to just a three-piece – gives the album a grittier edge that juxtaposes well with front person Jared Boulanger’s dream pop vocals. Lyrically the album continues the band’s tradition of being somewhat deeper than their sound initially lets on, this time around tackling themes reflecting the music industry, Austin, money (or lack of it), and the creative process.
In preparing for this review, I was able to touch base with Jared and ask him a few questions about the album and the current status of the band:
Brian J Audette for Ovrld: I’ve seen a few other bands go the route of releasing their LP as a series of EP’s over the course of a year or so, what brought you to do this? How do you think it worked out? Would you do it again?
Jared Boulanger: Releasing the LP as a series of 7-inch singles allowed us to hyper-focus on small chunks at a time and perform the songs live at a faster rate. It also provided the opportunity to collaborate with more visual artists and release the music sooner. Looking back, I’m so glad we decided this now that our performance options, time, and money have dwindled during the pandemic. I would do this again, but our next release is already underway as a 6-song EP called Middle Distance.
BJA: Between this album and the last you’ve started a second, more electronic band. How do you think working on Memory Keepers influences The Sour Notes, if at all?
JB: Our experience with Memory Keepers definitely paved the way for The Sour Notes 7-inch releases. Starting a new band from scratch is a difficult thing that I’d totally forgotten. I’ve accumulated enough Sour-demos over the last decade for a lifetime of work, but found that a blank slate with a new project provides a fresh perspective and new recording techniques that benefit both bands.
BJA: Where do The Sour Notes go from here?
JB: Since our tiny rehearsal space permanently closed down during COVID, we’ve been getting together in larger spaces to play and record at a safe distance when it’s feasible. This will result in a series of live videos from More is the Pity and MORE! You might find yourself walking through a park one day and hear the sounds of The Sour Notes emitting from a far-off gazebo or empty parking lot without warning. The world is an oyster … locked in a shell.
More is the Pity is available now digitally and on vinyl https://thesournotes.bandcamp.