Soccer Mommy – Sometimes, Forever
Expertly navigating an ocean of stylistic and lyrical juxtapositions, Soccer Mommy’s third album serves as a modern mercurial masterpiece
Following on from the spectacular color theory was never going to be easy, and yet, Sophie Allison’s adventurous third album as Soccer Mommy delivers another sublimely unpredictable rollercoaster ride replete with remarkable signs of growth, nuance and bravery.
Sometimes, Forever sees Allison’s enchanting lo-fi pop-rock riffery slot seamlessly alongside Daniel Lopatin's (aka Oneohtrix Point Never) eccentric, agitative production – a collaboration that, while contrasting on paper, in action blossoms beautifully across 11 magical and discomposing tracks. The concept of contradictions is integral throughout as crushingly dark lyricism and doleful vocal delivery weds mesmerising musicianship. Here the queen of bedroom pop cracks open her window and peers at the stars on ethereal tracks newdemo and With U, where Lopatin’s sparkling influence is as clear as the night’s sky.
Ever the piercingly poignant lyricist, Allison weaves through warming melodies and undercuts them with a staunch sense of sadness and bleak, sometimes grisly imagery. 'I cut a piece out of my side, I felt my heart go skydiving / It got me high for a little while, I don’t know what I was thinking', she sighs on the stunningly confessional closer Still, a track that captures both the hurting artist and her cathartic release. Allison’s honesty about her all-time high anxiety levels post-color theory is captured in photographic remarks throughout, from comparisons to Sylvia Plath on the ominous Darkness Forever, to being utterly ‘worn down from everything’ and longing to run away and ‘drive out where the sun shines’ on country-laced Feel It All the Time.
Arguably, Allison’s most audacious moment comes on Unholy Affliction, an understated, unsettling post-rock confession on the frailty of careerism that’s dark, doom-ridden, and unlike anything she has penned before. In microcosm, the track is a perfect representation of Sometimes, Forever’s subtle success, building on her trademark shimmering pop-rock and adding Lopatin’s wild, rocket-fuelling electronics, shooting her sound to exciting, cosmic heights.
On the whole, each track exudes its own disposition euphoniously. Her staple shimmering, shoegaze sensibilities (Bones, Shotgun) ooze in and out of new-sounding grungy, perturbing post-rock (Darkness Forever, Following Eyes), while moments of sonic audacity (Unholy Affliction) collide with heartwrenching confessions (Still) to complete what might be Soccer Mommy’s most dynamic and daring release to date. Few artists can toe the line between melancholy and miracle like Allison, making Sometimes, Forever a record worthy of accolades for some time, perhaps even forever.
Listen to: Bones, Shotgun, Still