This week's first feature album comes as a welcome respite from the dreaded 'beast from the East' that has blanketed our shores as we take a trip into the sun-dappled, courtesy of 20 year old Nashville chanteuse Sophie Allison aka Soccer Mommy. Clean is Soccer Mommy's debut album proper after a handful of EP and collection releases.
The album opens with the stark imagery of Still Clean as the all-consuming nature of young love bursts at the seams of a track that lures with its relatively simplicity before dazzling with its lyrical complexity. Cool begins in a warm structure before disintegrating in a downward spiral of intoxicatingly grotty guitar that hints at a similarly rapid demise for the song's subject who, for a brief moment, held the world in her hands. Your Dog provides a powerful snapshot of abusive relationships, presenting jarring imagery over far away guitars for a track that perfectly captures the twisted conflict between hate and lingering love. The accompanying video has to be seen to be believed:
Flaw is a pot luck of emotions, flirting with the romanticised pictogram of skinny dipping before tumbling down a rabbit hole of dark feelings and regret. Blossom (Wasting All My Time) is a delicate trinket of a track where lyrical and musical contrasts tell a story of two halves. Skin returns to where we began for a song that attempts to capture the discombobulation of feelings felt for the first time where every relationship was all or nothing and every moment carried an eternal significance. Closing track Wildflowers dries the ink on Allison's overriding hypothesis. Another conflict of emotions as the (false?) nostalgia of childhood days collides with the brutal attraction of adulthood and we are left wondering whether the exuberance and carelessness of adolescence can ever be truly osmosised into the savage truths of an unforgiving world?
Clean is an album of teenage exploration that owes more to the harsh realities of The Virgin Suicides than it does the stylised hedonism of American Pie. What Soccer Mommy has delivered is an intense kaleidoscope of youthful emotions, viewed through a lens tinted with the faintest Americana. In-keeping with the album's themes, Allison's vocals waver between a delightful fragility and an accomplished self-assuredness to really capture the aura of an artist in transition between the closed book of the past and the endless possibilities on the horizon. I for one, can't wait to see what that future holds for her.
Then again, I might be wrong. I am a Musical Moron, after all...
Lyric Of The Week
“I'm clawing at your skin, trying to see your bones”
Takes dark turns through teenage eyes
Mommy's growing up
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