Slipping largely under the radar when it first came out, Soccer Mommy’s ‘For Young Hearts’ - a scrappy, lo-fi bluster of grazed knees and 3am chats - crept up on more or less everyone before becoming Bandcamp’s best demo release of 2016. A bit like Adam Lallana in the Southampton days, it was clear Sophie Allison was just getting started, her clipped diary-entry lyrics and lonesome, frayed-edge melodies painting vivid pictures of the muddle of love. “Do you think it’s sweet I’m nervous talking to you, or am i just a freak?” asks ‘Death By Chocolate’ deprecatingly, while ‘3am at a Party’ - with that plain-talking title - pulls apart being in love with someone far too occupied by his “girlfriend’s shit”. Soccer Mommy, in a nutshell, pours bottled up emotion onto record, approaching storytelling with sparse, straight-to-the-point economy.
As scrappy and unpolished as it was, a quiet release with zero fanfare wasn’t the end of ‘For Young Hearts’. Enlisting a full band and playing the material live for the first time, the beefed up songs took on a new life, and got re-recorded for ‘Collection’. Eventually, it saw Soccer Mommy touring the world, too, in the surreal position of performing the songs she wrote during one New York heatwave in her dorm room. “I never really expected it to go this far,” Sophie ponders. “Especially not to a different country, to play songs I wrote when I was in college.”
Yearning for the impossible, and brushing past strangers on the street before indulging in low-risk fantasies, much of ‘Collection’ centres around crushes that work strictly on a one way system. And in newer songs - written especially for the beefed-up release - give a window towards what might lie next; stand-out newbie ‘Out Worn’ announcing it’s “sick and tired of feeling undesired” atop a grungy, more pointed guitar riff. Relationships come up so much, she reckons, because “it’s the most prominent thing in my life that I don’t get to express.” And Soccer Mommy’s songs - occasionally bordering on bleak in their self-effacing honesty - prove cathartic. “It’s important,” she agrees. “Just because it helps me to express better what I’m feeling rather than just keeping it covered. It’s a lot better to come right out and say what I’m actually feeling; it feels a little bit more confrontational or more expressive.”
Looking ahead, the plan is to sack off college in New York “for the time being,” in favour of focusing on Soccer Mommy. There’s also a debut album on the way, too. “I actually just finished writing it,” Sophie says, “and now we’re recording it. It’ll be early next year.”
Soccer Mommy’s ‘Collection’ is out now.
Taken from the October 2017 issue of DIY. Read online or subscribe below.