When we were first introduced to the music of Nashville’s Soccer Mommy, we were blown away at how well the songs hit our ears. Beneath the indie rock notations, Clean was in many ways the perfect balance of songwriting and millennial strife. However, as well written and arranged as that album was, color theory is that and so much more. The new album finds chief songwriter Sophie Allison looking inward, stripping back to pure honesty and crafting an album that’s ahead of the bulk of her contemporaries.
The album opens with the well structured and lush sounds of “bloodstream” where the band fills your ears with hefty arrangements and a chill stride. What’s immediately noticeable here is how well constructed the song is. There’s a level of songwriting that cannot be denied, while the pop undertones help the hooks feel more organic. The bridge alone is done in a way that you can only respect. This is followed up by the popular song “circle the drain.” Again, the songwriting and arrangements here lend themselves to a wider audience. There’s a pop sheen that lies within the song that not only stays with you, but comes in naturally without sounding forced.
But pop nuance isn’t all that makes the album up. While songs like “crawling in my skin” and “up the walls” are bookmarked by pop structures, they also have a darker side. The heft of the album is held together by an inner struggle that intertwines with heavily crafted compositions. In many ways, the whole record contains a level of songwriting and instrumentation that we don’t get very often anymore. The lushly honed notes of “lucy” are flowing with clusters of sound and lead by an understanding that the song is more than notes on a page. Allison finds a way to work in oughts notations into indie rock designed songs.
But of the ten songs, we found ourselves gravitating towards two songs in particular, the first of which is “royal screw up.” The opening notes are a mix of acoustic strum and vocals. The unabashed honesty of the lyrics won’t be lost on anyone who hears the track, because the vocals are high in the mix. When a beat comes in, you should be pulled in by the tractor beam that the song creates enough that the extra instruments will flow over you like a memory. The second song we couldn’t forget is “night swimming.” One of the more diverse songs of the album, the swirl of guitar that plays with the background noise of audience applause creates a depth like you’ve never experienced. With Allison singing against an array of stringed instruments, the song unfolds like pages from a diary, giving way to reverberated coupling that’s difficult to dislike. The way these songs are assembled are just a small sample of how well these songs are written. Somehow Soccer Mommy has found a way to take influences and music theory and blend them into an album that’s ahead of its years making color theory a masterpiece in its own right.
color theory is available to purchase in bundles and multiple formats directly from Loma Vista. It can be streamed on all streaming sites or purchased in all digital outlets. Soccer Mommy will be on tour March 26 at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, GA until August 02 at Osheaga Festival in Montreal, Quebec. Their complete tour routing is available here.
Image Credits: Photo by Brian Ziff.