Many young or not so young musicians these days opt for that self-contained, self-enclosed lo-fi pop sound that they can create on their own, in their proverbial bedrooms; hence the name of the genre that has been around for a while. Many exhibit a good sense of melody and lyrical craftsmanship in their work, and some among those transition to the ‘big league’; that is, a proper recording studio.
Young Sophie Allison, aka Soccer Mommy, who only relatively recently crossed over into the “legal age”, and transitioned well in her switch from the bedroom to the studio proper. No matter that she’s from the musical hotbed that is Nashville. Her music is not something that you would instantly connect with mainstream country. Or country music in general, for that matter. It’s just good music.
As with many artists these days, Allison began by publishing her songs on Bandcamp and created quite a buzz with her almost impeccable sense of melody, endearing singing voice, and sharp lyrical sense. All of those talents are collected into the simply titled
Collection (Fat Possum, 2017), which easily got her a ‘proper’ record deal and hence comes her sophomore album, with yet another simple title: Clean.
Now, many so-called lo-fi, bedroom pop or whatever you want to call them artists easily lose themselves in a recording studio. In the studio, the charm of the lonely artist and their particular melodic sense can get buried under studio machinations and overburdened arrangements. Sometimes, even a stellar producer can seem a burden to the uninitiated.
If there were such problems with producing Clean, you’re not aware of it. Here, a good producer (in this case Game Wax, whose cred includes the War on Drugs, Deerhunter, and Beirut) helps Allison bring out all the qualities she exhibited in her bedroom productions. Although you can hear the full band treatment throughout Clean, the production never overpowers Allison, her singing, and her guitar. Rather, the musical embellishments underline her strengths, as it should. Perfect examples are heard in “You Dog”, the lead single from the album and the closer “Wildflowers”.
For those who’ve heard Collection, they can see that Allison is really sharpening her lyrical sense in Clean: “I knew when I met you, I’m not the one you wanna be with / ‘Cos I can see you blossom in the future” from “Blossom (Wasting All My time)”.
As far as her musical maturity is concerned, Allison has quickly come of age. Indeed, great things are yet to come from Soccer Mommy.