SOCCER MOMMY + GARDEN CENTRE – THE HOPE & RUIN, BRIGHTON 7.3.18
At the Brighton & Hove News, we receive hundreds of press releases, reviews and music-related articles each month from the music industry, but one name has been consistently flagged up as one to watch, and that is Soccer Mommy aka 20-year-old Swiss-born Sophie Allison, who grew up in and hails from Nashville Tennessee. Sophie began her music career recording songs in her bedroom and posting them to Bandcamp in 2015.
Thankfully we got the date in our diaries early as her show at Brighton’s Hope & Ruin was sold out, testimony to both her talent and growing popularity.
Tonight we were warmed up for the main event with support from ‘Garden Centre‘ project of Brighton based Max Levy who is usually supported by a band, but tonight he was flying solo. Definitely eccentric and a little geeky, he played keyboard and electric guitar and sang in an almost female-like shrill falsetto with lots of reverb.
However he was engaging, charismatic and his songs were well written with some thought-provoking lyrics. He was strangely watchable and the crowd certainly seemed to enjoy his set.
Soccer Mommy took to the stage with a three-piece band in support of her first professionally recorded and released album ‘Clean’. Her music can best be described as nostalgic alt/folk rock and her Nashville upbringing has certainly given her an eclectic range of influences which she has applied to her very original songwriting. Many of her poignant lyrics draw on betrayal, heartbreak, resentment and eventual acceptance of personal life experiences.
First song up was ‘Henry’, one of her earlier recordings which is a melodic dreamy song that reminded me a lot of Amber Arcades (who we covered last year) and made for a great start to the set. The up-tempo ‘Last Girl’ from the new album references personal insecurity and doubt and would make a good single.
My personal favourite track of the night was ‘Inside Out’ which has a heavy Smashing Pumpkins connotation and sounded superb live.
The first of several tracks that Soccer Mommy performed solo tonight, was a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m on Fire’ which she made very much her own and The Boss would certainly have been proud to see his song elevated like this. The guitar ebbs and flows on ‘Still Clean’ which references the stark reality of a relationship when the rose-tinted specs are removed.
The set was closed out with another solo number, the charming and delicate ‘Waiting For Cars’ which was warmly received by the appreciative crowd.
There is no flash stuff with Soccer Mommy and her band, just songs written from the heart and performed with cool assurance. In my mind, there’s no doubt that at just 20 years old, her career is on an upward trajectory and she is destined for greater things and bigger venues. That surely that has to be her ultimate goal.
Henry, Try, Last Girl, Inside Out, Your Dog, Cool, I’m on Fire (Springsteen cover, solo), Still Clean (solo), Allison (solo), Scorpio Rising. (Encore) Waiting For Cars (solo).
To discover their music, check out: