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Soccer Mommy with TOPS
Sometimes, Forever, the immersive and compulsively replayable new Soccer Mommy full-length, cements Sophie Allison’s status as one of the most gifted songwriters making rock music right now. Packed with clever nods to synth-filled subgenres like new wave and goth, the album finds Sophie broadening the borders of her aesthetic without abandoning the unsparing lyricism and addictive melodies that make Soccer Mommy songs so easy to obsess over. Sometimes, Forever is the 24-year-old’s boldest and most aesthetically adventurous work, a mesmerizing collection that feels both informed by the past and explicitly of the moment. It’s a fresh peek into the mind of an artist who synthesizes everything —retro sounds, personal tumult, the relatable disorder of modern life —into original music that feels built to last a long time. Maybe even forever.
”Sometimes, Forever fixates on those sorts of contradictory forces: desire and apathy, ecstasy and misery, good and evil, self-control and wildness. Straight-up love songs —like the ultra-catchy “Shotgun,” which likens romance to a chemical high without the gnarly comedown —rub up against much gloomier fare, like the Sylvia Plath-referencing “Darkness Forever,” a sludge-rock fever dream from the album’s midsection. “I didn't want to make something super depressing without any sense of magic,” Sophie explains.
The title Sometimes, Forever refers to the idea that both good and bad feelings are cyclical. “Sorrow and emptiness will pass, but they will always come back around —as will joy,” Sophie says. “At some point you’re forced to say, I'll just have to take both.” She articulates this sentiment on the gut-punch opening of “Still,” her clear voice imbued with a heartbreaking blend of wisdom and hurt: “I don’t know how to feel things small / It’s a tidal wave or nothing at all.” Sophie understands that Sometimes, Forever is lyrically dark, with macabre imagery haunting even its most upbeat passages. But because she’s in a better place than when she wrote the songs, she has no trouble luxuriating in the moments of uncomplicated bliss that coexist alongside the bleakness.
One of those moments comes on the record’s penultimate track, “Feel It All The Time,” a song-length metaphor about a resilient old truck. “I wanna drive out where the sun shines / drown out the noise and the way I feel,” goes the hook, a heart-bursting blur of shoegaze-y Americana. By song’s end the narrator returns to a state of world-weariness, resigned to the fact that she probably can’t outrun her demons forever. But for a few flickering moments —Sophie’s voice freewheeling over warm guitar ripples, the sun-drenched sound of a generational talent at the height of her powers —it feels like maybe she could keep on driving, faster and faster until all of that existential darkness is behind her, just a cloud of red dust in a dirty rearview mirror.