2018, Music

Clean (2018) by Soccer Mommy

So my understanding is that this is her proper debut, as the albums before it were a demo and a collection of Bandcamp recordings. Thinking about it as a debut helps me.

The songs are okay. Some of them definitely stick around longer than others. It’s clear they’re personal and I can understand why songs like this released on Bandcamp would have resonated with a lot of people. I do think the songwriting could improve particularly when it comes to relative diversity – a lot of these songs sound pretty similar to each other and blend in to one another. (There’s also a bit of an Elliott Smith feel to one or two, which is not something I love.)

Allison is a good performer and I think she sells a lot of these songs even when I don’t find the melodies particularly strong. There’s definitely a voice here and I think her vocal performances are the highlight of the record.

I don’t love the arrangements a lot of the time. I think one reason I find the songs kind of samey is the arrangements are often fairly samey. There’s more energy here in some of these songs than you might expect in some bedroom music, but then the ballads are often very much that aesthetic, only with more instruments. It ranges from somewhat muted to a little bit peppy but there isn’t any real stylistic diversity to go along with the relative low energy of the instrumental music. The instruments sometimes feel grafted on top of songs she could perform alone in her room with her guitar for Bandcamp, at least on the slower songs. I will say there are a few tracks that feel like proper band recordings but I do think those could be more energetic

Some of this might be the mix, which feels a little thin. But I do think at the end of the day it goes back to the songs, which are just not consistently good.


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