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.
Sophie was only 20 when she put out Clean, her arresting studio debut, which became one of the most beloved coming-of-age albums of the 2010s. Its bigger-sounding followup, color theory, brought more acclaim and continued to win her fans far outside of the lo-fi bedroom pop scene she cut her teeth playing in. But with all the highs came inevitable lows. Navigating young adulthood is often spiritually draining, to say nothing of the artless administrative chaos associated with being a popular full-time musician. And yet she never stops writing, consistently transforming bouts of instability into emotionally generous music. The latest culmination of that process is Sometimes, Forever, which sees Sophie once again tapping into the turn-of-the-millenium sensibilities she’s known for. This time, though, she advances her self-made sonic world beyond the present and into the future with experimental-minded production, an expanded moodboard of vintage touchstones, and some of her most sophisticated songwriting to date.
To support her vision, Sophie enlisted producer Daniel Lopatin, a.k.a Oneohtrix Point Never, whose recent behind-the-boards credits include the Uncut Gems movie score and The Weeknd’s chart-topping Dawn FM. While the pairing might seem unexpected, active listening reveals a kindred creativity; both artists are interested in utilizing memory-triggering sounds and melodies to make invigorating music that transcends its influences. On Sometimes, Forever, Lopatin employs his boundless synth vocabulary and knack for meticulous arrangements to complement Sophie’s well-crafted compositions. The result is an epic-feeling mix of raw-edged live takes and studio wizardry.
Nowhere is Sophie’s exploration more spellbinding than “Unholy Affliction,” a first-half highlight with a paranoid post-rock rhythm and cursed-sounding synths. “I don’t want the money / That fake kind of happy,” she sings with dead-eyed disaffection. In addition to showcasing Sophie’s appreciation for textures that are at once pretty and unsettling, “Unholy Affliction” foregrounds one of Sometimes, Forever’s more compelling narrative tensions: the push and pull between Sophie’s desire to make meaningful art and her skepticism about the mechanics of careerism. “I hate so many parts of the music industry, but I also want success,” Sophie says. “And not just success — perfection. I want to make things that are flawless, that perfectly encapsulate what I’m thinking and feeling. It’s an unachievable goal that keeps you constantly chasing it.”
Links: Website | Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram