Soccer Mommy Sounds of the Past and Right Now at Webster Hall
November 10, 2022
Soccer Mommy – Webster Hall – November 9, 2022
It’s not news that Sophie Allison, aka Soccer Mommy, makes stellar, considered and contemplative rock that pays homage to her forebears. But it is a feat, as the Nashville, Tenn., singer released her first studio album, Clean, just months before her 21st birthday in 2018. Despite toeing the line between millennial and Gen Z, Allison has often eschewed the trendy in favor of the classic: Her music smacks of shoegaze-y ’90s and early aughts hits — your My Bloody Valentines, Slowdives, Alanises — but with a loving nod to Avril Lavigne. It’s possible I’ve been listening to too much Portishead lately, but this all felt especially true at Soccer Mommy’s appearance on Wednesday night at Webster Hall.
For one, Allison, who took the stage to cheers at her sold-out show, certainly looked the part in a sheer black T and midi skirt. She launched into “Bones,” the lead track off her fantastic new record, Sometimes, Forever, out this past June. It’s an insular, pained love song turned reckoning: “I wanna know what’s wrong / With all of the ways I am / I’m trying to be someone / That you could love and understand / But I know that I’m not.” It sparkled. Shortly after, she played two of her biggest hits back-to-back, “Circle the Drain" (Color Theory, 2020) and “Shotgun” (Sometimes), a perfect tune and almost certainly my top contender for Song of the Year.
It was at “Unholy Affliction,” though, when I felt Allison start communing with the past but with an eye to the future. The influence of producer Daniel Lopatin, aka Oneohtrix Point Never, is clear and present — but so is that of Blonde Redhead. The song is a layered treat — anthemic rock drums overlaid with droning, haunting vocals and molasses-slow guitars — and a departure from her early bedroom rock, like “Still Clean” (Clean), a spare, solo number she strummed and sang beautifully several songs later. The band played nearly all of Sometimes but featured some past bangers too, like “Yellow Is the Color of Her Eyes” (Color Theory) and, to everyone’s delight, “Your Dog” (Clean) for the encore closer. It was a deeply clever bookend to the broken self-defeat of “Bones”: “I don’t wanna be your fucking dog / That you drag around / A collar on my neck tied to a pole.” Hell yeah.
You could think of the rock eras Soccer Mommy draws upon as the good old days, but with Allison on the scene, I’m more inclined to think those days are right now — and more exciting than ever. Here’s hoping she swings through again soon. —Rachel Brody | @RachelCBrody
(Soccer Mommy plays Franklin Music Hall in Philly tomorrow.)