Clean is the tender debut studio album from 20-year-old Sophie Allison, a.k.a. Soccer Mommy. Produced by Gabe Wax (War On Drugs, Beirut) and mixed by Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, PJ Harvey), the record demonstrates a significant progression for Allison, and is a far cry from the demos she recorded in her bedroom before first posting to Tumblr, Soundcloud and Bandcamp under the same name way back in 2015.
“I’d never made a full album before, just EPs and random tracks thrown together. I wanted it to be a lot more cohesive than the rest of the stuff that came before,” she explains, a goal that is evidently achieved throughout the course of the record. Compiling to form a coming-of-age story, each track tells a tale of naivety, love, or anger, and mirrors a growth in both Allison’s music and transition from teenhood to early adulthood.
The lyrics of songs such as ‘Skin’ reflect experiences of the intensity of first love, “I wanna be the one you miss when you’re alone // I wanna be the one you kiss when you are stoned” expressing that although her words present very real emotions, Allison also possesses the ability to not take herself too seriously in her music. In contrast, the fuzzy, softly aggressive guitar and laid back vocals of most recent single ‘Your Dog’ and ‘Cool’ indicate the influences of female fronted bands such as Tigers Jaw and Alvvays, a distinctive genre-defining direction it feels Soccer Mommy is heading towards with this album.
‘Interlude’ provides an interesting instrumental pause for thought, creating the impression that Allison stops to collect her herself before the final track, and the conclusion of her journey. Said track, ‘Wildflowers’, is a gentle acoustic ballad that’s lyrics and building composition transports you to grassy fields in summer with a light wind blowing through your hair. Singing “I wanna be who I wasn’t // I wanna dance in that field of blue”, Soccer Mommy suggests that her journey is not yet over, and we will simply have to wait for her second album to find out where she ends up.
Soccer Mommy’s debut is available to stream in its entirety via NPR before its release on Friday, March 2nd. Sophie Allison also embarks on a UK and Europe tour this March, for more info visit her Bandcamp page.
Words by Kate Eldridge