April 28, 2014
Premiere: Soccer Mom's Crushing LP Soccer Mom
We are exceedingly pleased to premiere today the self-titled, full-length debut from the mighty Boston shoegaze foursome Soccer Mom. More than four years ago, we decided this was an important band, and despite the protracted wait (which was honestly little surprise, given the premise of our first feature on them), here today the quartet resoundingly and at long last delivers on the promise of its clutch of early singles and the crushing 2011 EP You Are Not Going To Heaven. Certainly all that time seems to have been put to good use: Soccer Mom is a painstakingly crafted, likely career-defining collection that positions the act for national attention. The LP contains powerful and beautiful music explosively rendered from charred shadow and blinding light. But the biggest accomplishment of Soccer Mom may be the containment itself: Soccer Mom in effect cages the beast, tidily confining -- without stifling -- the visceral squall of the band's live sets in such a way as to reveal the elegant architecture and compelling emotion that comprise the bone and flesh of Soccer Mom's music.
The album sits in a strange place: it sounds like a lot of things -- Soccer Mom typically draws references to Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Swirlies -- but very few things in the contemporary soundscape within and without its native Boston sounds like its synthesis of shoegaze, post-hardcore and post-rock. While not overtly mathematic or emo, Soccer Mom wields its very considerable charms not just through raw power but also via big dynamic shifts and face-stinging emotions. One feels it as the towering walls of textural guitar crumble into slowly picked melodies in "Orejas," or while the chords of "It's Probably Not Your Fault" stutter, grind and wantonly feedback in the song's final thrilling minute. It's in drummer Justin Kehoe's clever consolidation of new wave and hardcore playing, which skitters like mechanical mice in "Sundown Syndrome," and routinely spurs jarring transitions. And it's in Danielle Deveau's bass playing, which serves as the still point of turning that anchors the record.
The album's emotional impact is firmly indexed to those big dynamics, a key factor in making the music so engaging, even as it comes in a variety of flavors. There's the cool, clinical reportage of co-fronter and guitarist Will Scales' "Hideaway Sands," or his troubling final understatement ("you don't seem like yourself") in the buzzing and grinding "Open Heart Surgery." Co-fronter and guitarist Dan Parlin's desperate, declaratory vocal in opener "It's Probably Not Your Fault" (a title that feels equally sarcastic and sad, but knowing this band it probably is a sound bite from a reality TV show) is just as affecting as his poignant, introspective query "what's a boy to do, but hang around with you?" in the aforementioned "Sundown Syndrome." Many of the songs on Soccer Mom are burnished by the subtly applied vocal contributions of Deborah Warfield, who has in the past served time with the aforementioned Swirlies and collaborated with former Autochrome fronter Jeff Bartell. Notably, instead of weighing the mix down with yet another element to manage, Ms. Warfield's voice, while often barely there, provides a sense of lightness, that, were this a different kind of album, we might even consider uplifting. We extend kudos to recording engineer Shaun Curran of Somerville, Mass.'s Napoleon Complex for executing a very precise mix that, as we stated stated supra, reveals and even illuminates Soccer Mom's music. The band writes terrific melodies worthy of its oft-cited shoegazing progenitors, and now you know.
Soccer Mom will be released Thursday via the New York-based 100m Records as a vinyl 12", compact disc or digital download. The release is being feted May 3 with a live show at Boston's Great Scott rock club; dream-pop titans Infinity Girl, shoegaze behemoth Bedroom Eyes and indie rock upstarts Palehound also perform, making the evening one of the most rewarding you will likely see in a small Boston club this year. Here's the Facebook event page for the show. We are given to understand Soccer Mom will have merch on-hand, including some fetching shirts, so start saving up your shoe-shine tips now. We'll see you Saturday.
Soccer Mom: Facebook | Tumblahhh | Twonger
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