Fat Possum Records
Finding your voice is important, but it’s important to avoid letting it define you. While Soccer Mommy showed a range of ideas on Collection, she tightens things down to a concentrated melancholy this time around. The band’s emotional control makes every song instantly affecting, but they end up meditating on the same ideas again and again.
Soccer Mommy reaffirms their textured guitars as the album opens on “Still Clean” and gives a rush of emotions from a simple strum. Though the track really slow-burns its climax, it will feel deeply satisfying for anyone willing to wait. “Cool” wastes no time however, as it dives right into a punchy mix of bass and guitar. The riffs and vocal melodies bounce off each other and every chorus is invigorating in its euphoria.
The pointed lyrics of “Your Dog” leave the metaphors behind to make a statement to back up the emotional feedback that runs through the track. The choruses really bloom and take this loud noise even further to elevate the song’s already heavy energy. “Flaw” takes a completely different route, as the guitar hooks ebb and flow to give the song a swing both rhythmically and in the dynamics themselves. When the song finally reaches that change, it’s truly satisfying as well.
“Blossom (Wasting All My Time)” takes a similar approach in its sad meditation on the futility of dating. The track’s calculated drip of synths fleshes out the track in a magical way, and only shines through when the song truly needs it. There’s a sharp and pointed pop that’s utterly surprising on “Last Girl” where Soccer Mommy uses the song’s budding energy to be even more intimate in their lyricism. While you’ve probably heard this song before, the catchy writing makes the song pop and the band really put themselves into the track.
The up-close feeling of “Skin” makes the grimy bass and gradually distorted guitars feel all the more powerful, and let you really feel like the vocals are for you. While the album’s endless melancholy can certainly be draining at times, the way they constantly try to do something new with it is inspiring. “Scorpio Rising” is certainly a mixed bag in the overall scheme of the record. Though it feels oddly generic, the massive energy that surrounds the song’s effects gives it a mysteriously epic timbre otherwise.
While “Interlude” is really just that, there’s a wondrous shift in sound that makes the song intriguing for its short stay on the record. That said, it does in one minute what many of the song’s on the record do over four minutes, making it samey and somewhat retroactively straining on repeat listens. “Wildflowers” closes the album with the same kind of acoustic grandeur as “Scorpio Rising” to make its story seem larger-than-life. Though the intimacy is nice, it suffers the same issue of never completely capitalizing on its extra space.
Words by Owen Maxwell