Album of the Week: Soccer Mommy, 'Color Theory'


Soccer Mommy, 'Color Theory'
Soccer Mommy, 'Color Theory' (Loma Vista/Concord)
Mac Wilson - Album of the Week: Soccer Mommy, 'Color Theory'
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On Soccer Mommy's new album, Color Theory, Sophie Allison takes what she calls the "music of her childhood" and basically runs it through a blender, giving the record the feel of a mixtape of the last 25 years of alternative music. All these years of music swirl together into something that borders on subliminal: riffs and passages pop up in ways that make you feel that you've absolutely heard it somewhere before, but can't specifically place. This elusiveness, paired with Allison's deep well of emotional lyrics, makes Color Theory one of the year's richest albums to date so far.

Color Theory is a wide, uncanny valley of sound: an array of riffs, beats, melodies, and vibes that are deeply reminiscent of something you feel like you've heard before, but can't quite place. Lead single "lucy" is a good example of this, featuring a guitar lick that feels like a fusion of any number of alternative hits, without ever being pinned down to one song. The beat of "circle the drain" similarly evokes the specific period of time when alt bands began experimenting with trip hop beats, "yellow is the color of her eyes" goes full power ballad, and if we're talking '90s throwbacks, there's even a song literally titled "night swimming." Whereas playing 'Spot the Influence' may feel gimmicky with other artists' records, Soccer Mommy does a fantastic job here of melting everything together into something that feels fresh.

The album's opening track, "bloodstream" features the lyric, "I've barely left my room in the past week," which is of course an altogether too relatable sentiment these days, but it could also serve as a metaphor for that specific, nostalgic headspace in which the entire album resides. Elsewhere on the record, she is "chained to [her] bed," "climbing up the walls," and "paralyzed." Allison may be addressing her mental health in a frank manner, but she also couches it in reassurances both lyrical and musical, and leaves a seed of hope for the listener.

There's a lot of worse places to be cooped up than inside the brain of Sophie Allison, and Color Theory proves an endlessly rewarding place to pass the time.

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