Soccer Mommy - color theory (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Soccer Mommy

color theory (2020)


Soccer Mommy's Clean remains one of the most criminally overlooked indie records of the last decade. The way Sophia Allison infuses catchy elements of melodic rock with pop really threw me for a loop, feeling as if the Tennessee singer/songwriter was tossing her name into the hat alongside the likes of Mitski, Julia Jacklin, Phoebe Bridgers and another favourite songstress of mine in Julien Baker. Now, while that album felt a little fuller, color theory is way more stripped down and it makes sense as it's a deep, introspective plunge into mortality and depression. Is it as good as her debut? No, but that's a tall order... yet still, the new album really is an ear-wormer worth the time and effort.

Off the cuff, you get shades of Tancred with the acoustic shoegaze style of "bloodstream" before "circle the drain" takes you to streets where the likes of Wheatus, Avril Lavigne (one of her biggest influences she's most vocal about), Michelle Branch and Alanis Morissette all walked before. I love the '90s sound on tap here and from this point, a lot of it carries on throughout where Allison's music also feels like subtle nods to the likes of R.E.M. and even Smashing Pumpkins.

The latter you do feel a lot on the sombre "stain" whose chords feel like Eminem's "Lose Yourself" and honestly, it's a track I wish she went full-out rock and roll on as it has a dark edge to it. It also represents the best depiction of depression on the album, which Allison details via color. Yellow's for disease, a major theme as her mom suffered from terminal cancer, while blue is all about mental downswings, and grey's referring to death. It's also another cleverly written collective surrounding self-critical things like body issues, sexual identity and that overall fear of superficial judgement as one tries to fit society's mould. In other words, it's brutally honest and totally vulnerable as expected.

It's no wonder the shimmery tracks like "night swimming" and the atmospheric "up the walls" feel like swoon-y songs made for Netflix rom-coms/dramas as they drown you in all the melancholy Allison believes life's steeped in. That said, there are positive and uplifting notes to extract, and as sad as Soccer Mommy gets, there's a sense of lingering hope to take from the record. Again, I do feel a couple tracks needed a full band as it might get a bit drab in the middle but nonetheless, take the time and make this record a priority. I do feel it's emo-ness will grow on me even more by year's end because, life doesn't seem to be anything but fucked up these days, no matter which part of the world you're in. And yeah, I guess like Soccer Mommy, most of my perspective lies in nihilism.