For her third studio album, titled “Sometimes, Forever,” Sophie Allison — who uses the stage name “Soccer Mommy” — continues to expand on her palette of guitar-driven indie rock by introducing new themes while still relying on her trademark introspective songwriting. Building upon the success of 2020’s “color theory,” Allison has created a project that introduces new elements into her repertoire without compromising the relatability that brought her to the forefront of indie rock. “Sometimes, Forever” contains something for everyone, with songs that portray everything from the supernatural to depression.
As usual, Allison establishes a sense of relatable melancholy throughout, especially on the standout second track “With U.” “With U” allows the album to remain centered amongst the more experimental songs and themes that Allison grapples with later on. The chorus in particular gives a glimpse of the longing strewn throughout Allison’s music — “Being with you is all I can do / the stars and the moon can’t compare / to coming undone.”
Moving past “With U,” the album begins to let in darker themes that Allison has mostly avoided in her previous work. While “Shotgun” maintains the brand of caustic wit Allison established on 2018’s “Clean,” it also hints at a darker evolution for the singer-songwriter with lines like — “uppers and my heart never meshed / I hated coming down / but this feels the same without the bad things.” In spite of its dark tendency, “Shotgun” is possibly the most radio-friendly song on the album, with a chorus that gets stuck in your head all day, making it the perfect choice for a lead single.
“Unholy Affliction” on the other hand, is one of the oddest moments on the album and the only song that doesn’t fit sonically with the others. Featuring heavy distortion and abrupt instrumental changes, the song emphasizes the darkness Allison leans into but sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the other guitar-driven tracks. Not only that, the song at times sounds labored, as if Allison is hoping to reach the end of it. Maybe this was her intention, but regardless, the song is the one and only truly unpleasant moment on the album.
Songs such as “Following Eyes” and “Darkness Forever” are much more successful at blending Allison’s guitar-driven sonic style with her new darker themes. “Following Eyes” tells the story of the narrator being followed late at night by a creature in the darkness — “following eyes, a sound in the night / it’s something risen from below, / a horrible sight, a chill in my spine.” Once again, Allison’s ability to write a well-crafted hook in the chorus anchors the song against its more experimental theme.
In contrast, “Darkness Forever” sees Allison utilizing new haunting production against her songwriting, such as a scream in the background against heavy guitar, in order to portray unnerving dread. Allison proves that her sound is continually evolving as she seeks new ways to bolster her primarily guitar-driven songs.
The album’s closer, “Still,” encapsulates the Soccer Mommy brand through its reverberating melancholy. Lines such as, “I don’t know how to feel things small / it’s a tidal wave or nothing at all,” emphasize the enveloping feelings of sadness that Soccer Mommy grasps at throughout her work. “Still” invites the listener into Allison’s innermost thoughts of despair as she tries to reconcile her life against the growing darkness she feels. In the end, she maintains she will continue to look for ways to reinvent her life, but for now, she’ll just remain still.
With “Sometimes Forever,” Soccer Mommy brings refreshing new ideas into her body of work, both thematically and sonically, adding an interesting and necessary new layer to the indie rock that Allison mastered on her two previous albums. Allison shows that she is unafraid to take risks with her music as she continues to push the boundaries of what indie rock can be. Even though these risks don’t always pay off, enough do to solidify Sophie Allison’s status as one of the current leading women in indie rock.