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Over the past several years, Sophie Allison and her project Soccer Mommy have ascended from outstanding Nashville DIY newcomer status to international indie renown. Circa 2015, the Nashville School of the Arts grad began releasing solo home recordings, followed by full-band tracks. The next summer, between semesters at New York University, Allison started booking shows with her band around Nashville at houses and small clubs like The End and all-ages venue Drkmttr.

Her poignant, vulnerable and unflinching songs helped her lay the foundation for a fan base that’s kept on growing. In the wake of her 2018 debut full-length Clean, Allison opened tour dates for Kacey Musgraves — and Liz Phair, who is among the biggest influences on Soccer Mommy’s early work. Despite its release just weeks before the pandemic came crashing down, Soccer Mommy’s phenomenal and dark second album Color Theory earned wide acclaim. With its deeply personal narratives about coping with mental and physical illness and loss, Allison graduated from “ones to watch” lists to an established artist in a cadre that includes Phoebe Bridgers, Snail Mail and Lucy Dacus.

Released in June, Soccer Mommy’s Sometimes, Forever is also introspective. Allison’s painstaking examination of emotional truth remains a constant. But she doesn’t see her evolution as totally finished.

“I like to think I’ve learned a lot,” Allison says when we connect by phone ahead of a hometown tour stop at Brooklyn Bowl.

From the outset, she wanted to make something “different” with this album — something spacier and more ambient. To that end, she reached out to electronic artist and producer Daniel Lopatin, who records and performs as Oneohtrix Point Never, to produce. Allison felt herself drawn to the organic electronic soundscapes he’s created for projects like the Uncut Gems soundtrack and collaborations with FKA Twigs and The Weeknd. She wanted someone to “go with me on this journey of adding an otherworldly kind of sound,” and Lopatin ended up being the perfect traveling companion.

Their compatibility as collaborators is most obvious on the cosmic “With U.” It’s a stoned anthem with frantic synth arpeggios gliding up and down the stratosphere and a muscular rhythm section that carries the heavy beat gracefully. As the refrain comes around, she sings, “Being with you is all I can do / The stars and the moon can’t compare / To coming undone, staring straight at the sun / Till all I can see is you there.” In the song, being in love is a transcendent experience, captivating even as it is disorienting and numbing.

Imbued with the influence of artists like PJ Harvey, The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Cure, Sometimes, Forever melds canny pop songwriting, inventive electronic production techniques and gothic textures. The result feels fresh for Soccer Mommy. “I really like the idea of blending raw recordings of the band — that sounded live and like a band — overlaid with interesting, experimental, ambient type of sonics,” says Allison.

In “Shotgun,” an ode to domestic bliss, she builds an overwhelming wall of sound. As it explodes into the chorus, the melody of which has been circling in my brain for weeks, she sings, “Whenever you want me, I’ll be around / I’m a bullet in a shotgun waiting to sound.” In Soccer Mommy’s lyrics, listeners rarely find rosy-tinted optimism, romanticism or certainty, even when she’s singing about the best parts of being in a relationship. Allison paints her feelings in shades of complications, making her work more honest and relatable.

At its core, Sometimes, Forever is a meditation on the impermanence of feelings. “It can be really hard for me to grasp sometimes that things can feel like everything in the moment, and actually be so minute,” she says. “Both of these are the reality.” The extremes give her music its appeal, especially for those who know the rhythms of depression. “I wanted to capture the push and pull, and to be able to exist at the same time,” she continues.” Things don’t have to exist on the same plain. Things can be intense, but also not everlasting or the other way around.”

Hearing Allison in dire straits on tracks like “Darkness Forever” and “Still” offers its own sort of catharsis. Just past the midpoint of the album, “Don’t Ask Me” marks the shift where she surrenders what’s holding her back — she is “No longer vacant / No longer chasing / No longer searching.” Accepting the impermanence of negative thoughts and feelings is an acknowledgement of her objective wholeness as a human. Despite the nagging sense of dread, she lets go and finds peace, if even for just a moment.

The second leg of the extensive tour that Soccer Mommy started not long after the release of Sometimes, Forever, dubbed “Touring, Forever,” runs right up to the holidays, and in February, Allison & Co. head to Australia. More and more opportunities outside the cycle of writing, recording and touring are presenting themselves. Allison was tapped to write original music for a podcast called We Were Three, a co-production of The New York Times and Serial Productions; appropriately, the story covers exceptionally complex emotional territory. She also recently submitted Soccer Mommy for consideration to be nominated for the Best New Artist award at the upcoming Grammys. But her craft and the ways it empowers her remain her driving force. As the distorted beat of “Unholy Affliction” grinds to life, she sings: “I don’t want the money / That fake kind of happy / I’d sink in the river before I let it have me / But I want perfection.”

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