Soccer Mommy is the project of Sophie Allison, a 20 year old Swiss girl who lives in Nashville. Kids, sorry, i mean: young adults these days! When i was 20 i could barely get my act together to go to class or work on a damned paper, and here she is singing, playing guitar, and making wry observations about humanity.
She's actually been recording music for a few years, and she is actually a really good songwriter. Allison's voice is light and a little high-pitched, and she does a standard popish talking/singing kind of thing -- it's not like she is using her voice to sing opera here! She's also pretty good on the guitar.
She has put together a band to back her up, and they do a fine job. But Soccer Mommy is definitely her act and she is clearly the star.
She kicks off the album with Still Clean a catchy yet delicate tune of voice and faint guitar. The band comes in with some hazy instrumentation comes into her towards the end, where she sings a lovely little melody. An auspicious start.
The band follows her into the poppy tune Cool. This is really catchy, with guitarist Julian Powell jangling away as Allison wails.
On the next track she argues with Iggy Pop. "I don't wanna be your fucking dog," she snarls on Your Dog. The bass warbles wonderfully as the guitar chimes. There is a really great rhythm to this song.
Flaw starts almost acoustic, but then halfway through the band comes in and the song builds to a nice frenzy. Despite the good energetic end, this song is faintly melancholy.
Allison gives us a lovely folk song on Blossom (Wasting All My Time), but i really wish that she would do things in a poppier manner. Not the best track here, but pretty in a delicate kind of way.
But the next track is a stunner. Last Girl is head bouncing, toe tappingly catchy. It is not the happiest song, as Allison basically says that since she doesn't compare to his ex ("She's so cool!" and "The boys all drool!") that she is kind of a loser, destined to loneliness. It's a bit Morrissey-tastic, but the band is really bouncing along behind her with catchy riffs. There is a great verse where she sings, "She's the sun in your cold world/And i am just a dying flower/I don't hold the summer in my eyes". That is a wonderful verse, and i have to wonder if someone really said something like that to her. If so: Sophie, you can do better! But this song is awesome. Way to channel failure in love into catchy sarcastic pop songs (see also: Billy Bragg, Say Hi To Your Mom, The Wedding Present, et al.).
After that rollicking fun tune of heartbreak, Allison starts Skin with strummed guitar and voice. The band comes in, and again we have a catchy pop song as she sings about, well, romantic obsession. I am sensing a theme here... Still, this is another catchy song. I like the scattered percussion and the rolling bass riff.
Scorpio Rising is another tune that starts off folksy, with a clattering acoustic and her voice. The song moves along slowly, a pretty tune. The band kicks in after the chorus and the song grinds. Once again, she is compared to another girl: "She's bubbly and sweet / Like a Coca-Cola." That is a great image, and this is a fun song.
Interlude is a less than two-minute instrumental interlude. It's pleasant enough, and it leads us to the album closer, Wildflowers, another folkish tune to fade out the record. It has a sense of melancholy permeating it, but when the band kicks in towards the middle, it is really pretty.
This is one of the best pop debuts that i have heard in a long time. Allison really knows what she is doing, and Soccer Mommy make fun music. I am really curious to see what she does next.
Still, she needs to stop making the rest of us look a bunch of slackers!