REVIEW: ‘Color Theory’ is dark, riveting

Soccer Mommy is the alias of musician and singer Sophie Allison as well as the band that tours with her. Allison has been releasing music under the Soccer Mommy moniker since 2016 with “For Young Hearts” in 2016 and “Still Clean” in 2018. Allison creates a moody, indie rock sound that balances bright guitar riffs with solemn lyrics and tone.

On her latest release, “Color Theory,” she converges her sparse and atmospheric early music with the full rock outfit of “Still Clean” to create a sound that is startlingly emotional and catchy. As a whole, “Color Theory” by Soccer Mommy takes the listener on a visceral and dark journey through Sophie Allison’s mind, and the result is both stirring and riveting.

The album is focused on its three different sections and their colorful meanings. The first section is blue which embodies depression and sadness, then yellow which symbolizes sickness and mental illness, and lastly gray which reflects topics of darkness and emptiness. The emotional journey that the listener goes on is beautiful yet at many points difficult because Soccer Mommy’s music speaks to real pain and suffering felt by so many.

The yellow section of “Color Theory” reflects on both the terminal sickness of Sophie Allison’s mother and the mental illnesses that Allison herself has faced. The song “crawling in my skin” emanates a profound sense of anxiety, almost to the eerie feeling of someone watching you from a distance with its jangling guitars and distorted vocals. Meanwhile, the song “yellow is the color of her eyes” reflects on the sickness of Allison’s mother and the indescribable pain of watching someone die slowly. The closing lyrics of the song powerfully rip into the listener’s heart with Allison crooning, “Loving you isn’t enough, you’ll still be deep in the ground when it’s done. I’ll know the day when it comes. I’ll feel the cold as they put out my sun.”

The two main attractions of the album have to be the tracks “circle the drain” and “up the walls” which provide the listener with thought-provoking lyrics and moody acoustic atmospheres. Sonically, “circle the drain” is a spectacle of 2000s pop melodies entrenched in the bright and vintage Soccer Mommy riffs that her fans have come to love. Lyrically though, “circle the drain” is about falling into sadness and despair. The contrast of hopeful instrumentals and wallowing lyricism depicts a vivid image of the hardships Allison has struggled to cope with, such as including mental illness and intense grief, while rising to critical acclaim.

Although the subject matter of “up the walls” is much different than “circle the drain” it still provides the sonic and lyrical contrast seen throughout “Color Theory.” The track focuses on a relationship with a lover that is generating a sense of worry and distance with the lyrics, “Scared the girl you love is hardly ever here at all.” While the lyrics take on the hardships of growing romantically in such a hectic world, the acoustic instrumentals are catchy and melancholy which evokes the listener to ponder over the melody and its meaning for hours.

Although “Color Theory ‘’ at times is a sorrowful and dark journey through Sophie Allison’s mind and personal troubles, the authenticity in her songwriting draws the listener in and leaves them wanting more. Overarchingly, “Color Theory ‘’ by Soccer Mommy pairs reflections of the most difficult times lyrically with upbeat sonic tones to create an equally heart wrenching yet astounding result.