September 7, 2017

LP: Soccer Mommy - Collection

Soccer Mommy looks back while moving forward.

If you're already a fan of Soccer Mommy, Collection is quite plainly a treat. Sophie Allison’s August 4 release is a compilation of previously published songs, but fleshed out and re-recorded. It’s proof that the bittersweet charm of her music stems not from its fuzzy homemade sound, but from the quality of songwriting itself. Allison has grown in technical proficiency with each release on her Bandcamp page, which first saw the light in late 2015. On her two 2017 releases so far—Collection and last girl / be seeing you—songs are brought to life with a full band, clean guitars and marching drum beats. What’s impressive about Collection is that its professional sound doesn’t discourage the earnest emotion of Allison’s music. Even the two new songs on the record—especially those songs, in fact—evoke the blushing sincerity of her past recordings.

“Allison” and “Out Worn,” the newly written tracks, are highlights of Collection because they exhibit Soccer Mommy’s new musical inclinations and influences; they show that, despite all the looking back she inspires, Allison herself is steadily moving forward. Soccer Mommy amassed a following because the music is completely unapologetic; it harnesses the power in vulnerability and implies expertise without eschewing the naiveté implicit in emotional development. It’s lovingly crafted, good old-fashioned guitar music (despite sprinklings of synths here and there)—and that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon. The oldest track on Collection is “Waiting For Cars,” which originated on Allison’s September 2015 release songs for the recently sad. The lead guitar line has been replaced with a distorted, despondent piano; Allison’s vocal delivery is less raw, given the passage of time, but is instead intriguingly detached—as if she’s looking at the feeling she once wrote about through some sort of veil. Although the newer songs on Collection generally seem to be a better fit for Soccer Mommy’s new sensibilities, the old songs are treated with respect; worn lovingly, like old clothes. It takes talent and courage to do justice to a broad collection of personal compositions in the way that Allison has done with this record. .

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Listen to Soccer Mommy on bandcamp.

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Jess is a college student from Nashville living in NYC. She enjoys February, tape hiss, and peanut butter cups. Find her tweeting self-consciously here.