Soccer Mommy Captures Bittersweet Introspection on Debut 'Collection'
By Brody Coronelli
The current state of technology and media has completely uprooted the dynamic of being a creator. Where musicians used to need a major label or other representation to do what they love, they can now do it more independently than ever, making records from their bedroom and releasing them on their own through the massive reach of the internet. Many young songwriters that were born into this new creative entity are beginning to surface as massive talents. This is where Soccer Mommy comes in.
Soccer Mommy is the moniker of twenty-year-old singer/songwriter Sophie Allison. In true DIY fashion, Allison has been releasing her music for free on Bandcamp for the last few years. Earlier this year, she was picked up by Fat Possum Records, and Collection is her "debut": a short assemblage of new and old songs that retain Allison's cozy DIY charm while also hinting at an artist who has the potential to break that mold entirely.
Collection comes in at only eight songs, each one shining with a vein of forthright, bittersweet introspection that often can only come out of writing songs for yourself, without an immediate audience. These breezy, subtle songs manage to find ways to land without the aid of lavish accompaniments; a true testament to the magnetism of the songwriting. Songs like the dreamy and mostly solo-driven "Allison" soar with the simplicity of reverb-soaked down-strums, delicate background vocals, and distant strings, leaving Allison's airy and expressive vocals to lightly crease the surface.
However, Allison doesn't shy away from including more than just her voice and her soft guitar playing. Although some of the finest moments on Collection come from pulling back, there's plenty of moments to be had from Allison diving into more collective arrangements that partially elevate these songs from bedroom pop introspection into indie-rock splendor. "Try" features a beachy lead guitar, with Allison's saturated vocals pushed slightly behind the mix beside the crisp, dance-able rhythm of the drums. "Outworn" also brings out the full-band potential of Allison's songwriting, with a romping, jangly lead guitar and climbing, sugary vocal harmonies.
However, Collection's finest moment is "Waiting For Cars": a sparse ballad that reaches sharp emotional catharsis with nothing but Allison's minimal fingerpicking and quiet, distant keyboard interjections that blend seamlessly into the melody. This song is a ceiling gazer in it's truest form; one that could accompany the most tender and vulnerable of moments as if it were written out of spontaneous emotional fervor.
Collection is a dynamic and engaging debut from an artist just now breaking through the DIY mold. It retains it's introspective bedroom-pop jangle while also making room for sounds that could eventually give way to something far more collective. Ultimately, this is where Soccer Mommy finds her niche; charmingly restrained by the endearing throes of DIY simplicity, but also on the brink of blossoming into something more substantial.
Score: 8/10 -- Listen to: "Waiting for Cars", "Allison", "Out Worn"
Collection is out now via Fat Possum records.