Bringing the best of her previous releases together for her first release with Fat Possum, Sophie Allison (aka Soccer Mommy) has the perfect debut on her hands. The Nashville singer’s lyrical tenderness holds nothing back, making the deep pathos of the songs all the more hard hitting. Between tones of Girlpool, Chastity Belt and something all her own, Allison offers listeners the best possible introduction to her music for the uninitiated while leaving a lot of room to grow.
The slow glow of “Allison” opens the album, as its shining guitar jangles and blissful harmonies bring a sense of joy to the record opening. The simple but uplifting melodies create a sense of brutal emotion on every vocal line and the slow building touches in the background allow the song to open the album in a truly wondrous way. On cutting lyrics, and discordant harmonies that ring like a Chastity Belt, “Try” moves on its sarcastic surf grooves. The delicious guitar hooks fall right into the ecstatic choruses for a track that constantly impresses.
The melancholy in “Death By Chocolate” is hilariously contrasted by its sparkling synth lines and joyous backing vocals. The notably downbeat lyrics with a hint of hope fit the music surprisingly well as they dance between sad but not giving up. The lush layering that all the instrumentation lands in when it lands right is a joy to listen to as well. Continuing to glisten on “Out Worn” the synths break through even more, with each build up stirring in more excitement than the last. The personal and vulnerable lyrics about past relationships also gives the track a deeply intimate feeling.
On notes that recall Nelly Furtado’s “Cry” the dark harmonies of “3 AM at a Party” craft a devastating wallop of emotion. Bearing overtones of The Cranberries as well, the track has a deeply pained current to its main hook, with slightly bitter lyrics adding to it even more. On a simple but grabbing hook, “Inside Out” pulls you in from the start. The lyrics are drenched in longing and reverb, making them all the more effective through each passionate cry. The tumble of each chorus gives a real sense of direction to the track that anchors it.
“Benadryl Dream” runs on its unconventional hook, as the loving but demented lyrics keep listeners at attention. The groove locks in tightly making the playful vocals all the more enticing. The dynamic up and down of the chorus is a joy to listen to, making the slightly dragged out verses a lot more bearable. Mixing a dark piano and guitar run, “Waiting for Cars” closes the record on its most sombre melodies. The absolutely destroyed emotion behind the vocals and lyrics themselves tell a story in themselves, making the track all the more tender. Turning into a back and forth by the finale, the three voices of the song become magically intertwined as they amplify the almost overpowering lyrics.
Words by Owen Maxwell