SOCCER MOMMY Clean gets 8/10

Soccer Mommy
Clean

Fat Possum/Inertia

8/10

“In the summer you said you loved me like an animal/ Stayed beside me just enough to keep your belly full/ Then you took me down to the water got your mouth all clean/ Left me drowning once you picked me out your bloody teeth”. So starts the debut album for Nashville’s Soccer Mommy, or Sophie Allison to her mum. Thirty-five minutes of heartbreaking indie rock that will speak to anyone who has ever experienced love.

Clean is intended as an album heard in its entirety. Sitting down and listening to the whole thing is like having Allison open up her diary and sing you her most intimate entries. From tales of longing to be someone else, to simply longing for someone, she writes of fleeting love, reclaiming power in a relationship, and a heart grown cold.

Once a solo bedroom project, Allison had previously released bits and pieces, collections of songs, but never an album. Of Clean she said, “I wanted to make something that was a full piece of my life, that addressed similar themes and held together as a whole.” The result is a studio recording with a band, which somehow manages to maintain the DIY vitality of the music she was releasing herself to a lot of buzz.

Lyrically there is a recurring simile between the characters in her songs and animals. In Still Clean (quoted above) her love interest is painted as voracious wolf, chewing people up as if they are disposable (Tinder anyone?). Next comes the single, Cool, about a girl who breaks hearts: “she’ll break you down and eat you whole… she’s an animal”. Only this time Allison wishes she could be like that, cool and aloof. However, when she does paint herself as an animal in Your Dog she is not the strong predator like in the previous tracks. Instead, she is physically and metaphorically restrained by someone. “I don’t wanna be your fucking dog that you drag around/ A collar on my neck tied to a pole/ Leave me in the freezing cold.”

From here on in, the album loses the similes and patently gets right to the heart of an agonising, seemingly unrequited or lost love. We all know wanting to be someone’s person, and having a crush, is totally brutal. Especially when, like in Scorpio Rising, the object of your affections likes someone else, who is “bubbly and sweet like a Coca-Cola”. Allison laments not having a true love, and being seemingly undesirable.

A fairly sad album, Clean is comprised of mostly slow burners like absolute tearjerker Flaw, though there are moments of pop such as Last Girl and Skin. Every track is guitar driven, with Allison’s vocals at the fore, and the rest of the band generally making a late entry into the songs. These changes of momentum that weave their way throughout these songs are a clever way of lending extra gravitas at certain points , adding sonic and physical emotion to already emotional lyrics.

This album gets you RIGHT! IN! THE! FEELS! BRB just going to put it on again and write in my diary about the boy I like…

SHANNON FOX

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