Soccer Mommy - Clean (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Soccer Mommy

Clean (2018)

Fat Possum

The gift of incredible, female singer-songwriters keeps on giving. Every one of them—from Julien Baker to Frankie Cosmos to Japanese Breakfast—has found so much to say with little more than a guitar. And yet, as their music gains popularity, they find new ways to embrace additional elements. Soccer Mommy a.k.a. Sophie Allison does just that on her debut full length Clean.

The twenty-year-old, who up to this point has released a few EPs and Collection – a compilation of reworked songs, is familiar with the pains of love. Over the course of ten songs, Allison goes through all the phases of a breakup. On the first song “Still Clean,” Allison sings, “I guess I’m only what you wanted for a little while,” sounding like the comparatively stripped down Collection. But it’s singles “Cool” and “Your Dog” that show how much Soccer Mommy has grown. On “Cool,” she describes her envy for a girl named Mary. Allison longs to be as cool, to have that control. Some of that desire bleeds into “Your Dog,” where she no longer wants to be treated like the aforementioned pet.

While slicker than before, Clean benefits most from its rawness, especially on tracks like “Flaw.” Her voice may be softer than some of her peers, but Allison uses it to her advantage, giving these heartbreaking songs a tortured perspective. On “Blossom (Wasting All My Time),” she channels Hop Along’s Frances Quinlan, allowing the passion and hurt behind the voice to take precedent over everything else. Because Soccer Mommy is Sophie Allison. Everything that’s not her is decoration, beefing up the songs but not essential to their existence. Her dedication is still to the bedroom sound she’s grown up with.

But still, songs like “Cool” and “Last Girl” prove Soccer Mommy will not have a hard time crossing over to the majors, should she so choose. The songs are pop punk gold laced with an emo edge and 90’s alt rock. "Scorpio Rising," in particular, feels like a 90’s acoustic guitar ballad.

On Clean, Soccer Mommy makes sadness beautiful. She bookends the album with “Still Clean” and “Wildflowers” to make sure her roots remain. Everything feels uniquely Soccer Mommy, which is impressive at such a young age. Sophie Allison has literally found her voice and all the right aspects to compliment it.