Soccer Mommy

color theory

Written by: LF on 12/07/2020 16:55:17

I only discovered Soccer Mommy - recording moniker of Nashville, Tennessee resident Sophia Regina Allison - when she released her third record, "Clean", in 2018. I was intrigued by her hazy and tingly sweet yet biting indie sound but never managed to get fully into the record, deeming it too much of the same flavour. Her fourth full-length "color theory", on the other hand, has hit straight home with me and has been one of the albums I've listened to the most this year so far, its comforting melodies popping up in my head day after day.

I'm not sure this actually means that "color theory" has more nuance exactly than "Clean" did - it's more that I just found a way into her universe in a way that made the whole sleepy and laid-back sound work for me. This has also opened up her other works as well as made me attentive to the range of more subtle changes in her music. So far so good.

"bloodstream", for instance, opens nicely with mellow sounds and that recognizable overall hazy atmosphere in both vocals and backing but it is the intoxicating "circle the drain" that gets me hooked for the entire trip of the album every time. It stands apart for me because of the perfect marriage of darker but also cleaner tones in everything that's pushed up front towards the listener for a very intimate soundscape. The stripped-back verses and the way they seamlessly morph into lush choruses and back again in a repetitive motion gives me little happy goosebumps everytime. It's one of those songs that I just want to wrap around me as a blanket and live inside for a while. Lyrically, Allison nails a whole range of melancholy moods all over the record and not least here, as the circling riffs constantly underline the chorus lines: "Hey, I've been falling apart these days / Split open, watching my heart go round and around / Round and around / Circle the drain / I'm going down".

In time, this favorite of mine has been accompanied on my "Best of 2020" playlist by the super retro 7-minute ballad "yellow is the color of her eyes" as well as the slightly more up-beat, noisy and raw "lucy" that stands out with its more eclectic guitar patterns. There's no doubt that the more instrumentally busy songs here remain with me more than the primarily acoustic flavored ones but nevertheless, the vocal melodies themselves are incredibly strong across the album. In no particular order, a few of them stand out like this slightly more than the rest: the more acoustic taste that is the almost gritty "stain"; the naively sad vibe of "royal screw up" with Allison pushed way up front in the mix singing her vulnerable lyrics in an almost too-sweet melody; and finally the echoing "night swimming" with its chattery background and an airy feel that's unique on the record.

The album overall has become its own little haven of introspective reflection for me and manages to provide comfort as well as occasional too-true stings of insight. I'm happy that it has become this emotional hook that has opened up an entire discography for me but on its own, "color theory" is also just a great, hazy, and catchy indie rock album. No doubt it will feature on my end of the year list of best releases.


Download: circle the drain, yellow is the color of her eyes, lucy, stain
For The Fans Of: The Japanese House, Snail Mail, Phoebe Bridgers

Release date 28.02.2020
Loma Vista Recordings

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