Soccer Mommy’s ‘Color Theory’, an album in three acts, is as much a visual journey as it is a sonic one, diving into life’s dark corners with assured sound.
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In just a few years, Sophie Allison, who releases music under the name Soccer Mommy, has had a whirlwind of a career. From making songs in her college dorm room to releasing two studio records, opening for icons like Paramore and Kacey Musgraves, and embarking on widespread headline tours. Though the timespan was brief, it proved ample time to reflect on old memories and life’s weightiness, and it’s given Allison more knowledge and assurance in her sound. Soccer Mommy’s second album, color theory, released February 28, 2020 via Loma Vista Records, and it dives headfirst into dark corners drenched in the emotionality that drew so many to Allison’s songs in the first place.
Stream: ‘color theory’ – Soccer Mommy
For a sophomore record made mostly on the road, color theory is anything but typical. A natural vocation of the inner-workings of Allison’s mind, it is an album in three acts. Each act is denoted by a color, which then encapsulates a mood: blue (sadness/depression), yellow (mental and physical sickness), and gray (emptiness/loss). While the themes of these acts are admittedly heavy, Allison and her band have a way of sonically easing us in, sometimes even letting us get lost in the sound.
The opening act is deep blue, full of guitar-driven melodies and summery nostalgia tinged with sadness. On “bloodstream”, Allison sings, “Happiness is like a firefly on summer free evenings,” and recalls soft summer rain on Sheryl Crow-esque track “circle the drain.” As the songs progress, Allison reveals she’s regrettably stuck in her room, sad she couldn’t hold onto that firefly for longer.
The next few tracks have more breath in them, laden with water imagery. “royal screw up”, begins with a quiet spoken, “okay, let’s do it,” before launching into a soft confessional where Allison laments the “world is sinking, and [she] is the captain of it all.” And the ethereal strings on “night swimming” seal that sinking fate.
You watched me sink
beneath the water like a stone
Again let go
I came for air and found that I was so alone
I should’ve known
With brief pause, blue fades to yellow on “crawling in my skin,” a drum-driven nod to what feels like ever-present mental health struggles, and lead single “yellow is the color of her eyes”, a seven-minute opus where Allison grapples with her mother’s terminal illness. Backed by steady rolling guitars, “yellow” confirms the heaviness of color theory in both sound and subject.
The memories and emotions Allison sings about span across years, and they culminate into the gray void of loss as color theory comes to a close: The loss of herself on stripped-down “stain”, and the fear of losing her mother on “gray light” which seems to bring the album back to blue, inevitably sinking beneath the water’s surface.
I can’t lose it
The feeling I’m going down
I can’t lose it
I’m watching my mother drown
Listening through color theory is as much of a visual journey as it is a sonic one, building on the staple guitar tone on 2018’s Clean, and thoughtful lyrics shrouded in deep hues of color.
Standing beneath a well-deserved spotlight, Sophie Allison sounds confident in the uniquely colored ten-song world she’s created within color theory, and I am a listener who’s deeply glad it exists. Stream Soccer Mommy’s color theory, out now!
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? © Brian Ziff
an album by Soccer Mommy