Cleaner and meaner  

Sophie Allison ‘gets weird’ on bleak and breezy new Soccer Mommy album

Credit: Sophie Hur

If there’s one moment that captures the sonic leap of Nashville-based music artist Sophie Allison over the last half-decade, it comes right in the middle of Sometimes, Forever, her newest release under the stage name Soccer Mommy. Amid the down-tempo, trip-hop dirge of album centerpiece “Darkness Forever,” the 25-year-old guitarist and vocalist cuts through the commotion with a blood-chilling, glass-busting shriek — catapulting the song, and the delicate sound she’s built throughout three full-length albums, into a violent new register. 

“I think the most shocked person [in the studio] was me,” she says with a laugh. “We were in a space that was fairly large, and it was just me in there standing probably 10 or 15 feet back from the mic. I’ve never yelled as loud as I can before, probably since I was a child. So I really had no idea what was going to come out.”

What came out represents a lifetime of growth for Allison since the release of her debut album in 2018. Clean, her first proper offering as Soccer Mommy, announced the arrival of a commanding (if quieter) new voice in indie rock: hushed and wistful, but propelled by a sharp pop sensibility, emotional clarity and a confidence beyond her years. Then came her synth-forward sophomore effort Color Theory, a moodier offering marked by swirling electronics and the creeping bruises of self-doubt. Now Sometimes, Forever finds Allison traversing darker and more experimental territory, while still retaining the signature sweetness that never quite dissolves in this bitter cocktail of love and loss. 

“I think part of that is due to getting into a studio for the first time and really working with a producer,” Allison says of Soccer Mommy’s expanding sound. “Having all these opportunities and seeing all these things you can do put me in this position where I could explore a lot of stuff I wouldn’t have been able to explore when I was recording in my bedroom.”

Loma Vista Recordings

Despite that steady growth from her early days, there’s an undeniable throughline connecting Allison’s new LP with its predecessors. The one-two punch of buoyant album opener “Bones” and romantic chaser “With U” are built on the tenderhearted pop-rock scaffolding that has earned Soccer Mommy a devoted legion of listeners over the past four years, and the haunting closer “Still” proves she doesn’t need to raise her voice to plunge a knife into their hearts. 

But with the help of superstar producer Daniel Lopatin — the acclaimed electronic musician known as Oneohtrix Point Never, whose production work includes The Weeknd’s chart-topping Dawn FM and meme-ready Super Bowl performanceSometimes, Forever is the sound of a restless artist who continues to carve new creative quadrants in the map of her short but shimmering career. 

“I could definitely hear places on Color Theory where I wanted to get maybe a little more electronic at certain parts, and get kind of weird with things. I did that a little bit, and then with Sometimes, Forever, I was ready to go full force,” she says. “I think having Dan [Lopatin] as the producer pushed me into this sphere I wanted to go into, but didn’t quite know how to get there on my own.”

For Allison, a big part of that journey involved pushing herself outside her comfort zone and beyond her original vision of the 11 songs making up her simultaneously bleak and breezy new LP. “I didn’t want to be stopped by the fact that it’s something I haven’t really done before. I didn’t want to catch myself shying away from going too far in one direction,” she says. “I really wanted to get crazy with it and see what happens.”

But Sometimes, Forever represents more than a bold new sonic horizon for Soccer Mommy. The all-in approach is also baked into Allison’s confessional lyrics, which frequently return to the twinned concepts of temporality and extremity through her trademark introspection. (“I don’t know how to feel things small,” she sings on the closing track. “It’s a tidal wave or nothing at all.”) Juiced by Lopatin’s otherworldly production, this dovetailed strategy draws the record’s themes into their sharpest relief. 

“Whether it’s struggles you’re going through, or happiness, or anything, it can be constantly recurring throughout your entire life, but it doesn’t mean it’s always present. So I kind of wanted to touch on that,” she says. “Because a lot of the songs on the album go through this push and pull of feeling something, and feeling it all at once — like it’s the only thing in the world, and then it’s all gone the next minute.” 

ON THE BILL: Soccer Mommy with TOPS. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, Washington’s, 132 Laporte Ave., Fort Collins. | 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, Ogden Theatre, 935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver. Tickets here and here.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here