Soccer Mommy, aka Sophie Allison, a 20 year old from Nashville, has previously made some lovely mid-fi music that would please fans of Boston bands of the 1990s, as detailed on her recent compilation, Collection. Her proper debut album, Clean, gives her a bigger stage and bigger production values, but the songs remain true to her roots. Clean was produced by War On Drugs/Deerhunter producer, Gabe Wax.
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Fans of singers and songs, listen up: here’s a damn good singer songwriter. The name is misleading; the song titles are sparse. The devils, though… they’re in the details. ‘Clean’ is an incredibly good and deceptively humble record from the band known as Soccer Mommy and led by Sophie Allison. Its chord sequences are seamless: quiet and pulsating, they form the backbone of a record that is oddly inventive and calmly staggering. Listen to that sudden moment in “Still Clean” -- that power cut of emotion -- and know.
Talking to Dork Magazine, Allison claimed she “got to try out a bunch of cool ideas”, and amidst what might seem like indie rock by numbers, it shows. In the vein of Alex G meeting a more straightforwardly good band like Big Thief, Soccer Mommy takes hooking progressions and brilliantly crass melodies and turns them into oddly buzzing, twanging tunes. Allison hasn’t traded lo-fi bedroom recording for pop sheen -- rather, she’s striven to give her music affectations it may never have had before, whether its the gloriously filled out “Cool” -- which bends into an Oasis-esque riff before breaking and warping it -- or the pared back but dialled in “Flaw”, where piano moves like lilting dust and flourishes weave in with the kind of subliminality that makes me wonder if they were ever there.
That is, before the song climaxes. Allison still reaches for a few good big hits; her dynamics are perfectly calibrated and I’m happy to find strands of grandiosity in this record, even when it isn't doing exactly what you expect it to. She called it 'Clean' as a joke but so much of this record is a wink at what can break inside of an anthem: can a guitar sound out of tune, can a riff go the wrong way, can a bridge be weird, without losing that big, transcending resonance? Yeah. 'Clean' rules.
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- Clean by Soccer Mommy
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