Saturday, 19 July 2014

Kicking Goals, Son!

This has been a long time coming. I’ve been a fan of Boston band Soccer Mom since their inception back in 2010; they were the subject of one of the first ever Sonic Masala interviews (an element that has come in fits and bursts, but has included the likes of Civil Civic, Angie (Straight Arrows/Ruined Fortune/Circle Pit), White Walls, Batpiss and Alpine Decline amongst others); my write-ups find a small space in the nether regions of their press releases. And yes their moniker is incredibly misleading. But if you haven’t jumped rampantly on their bandwagon, no need to go back to the beginning. Simply dive headfirst into the distorted world of their debut self-titled album – it’s an exercise in calibrated tension, serrated guitar lines opened up to the sky, a series of noise and nuance that embodies what guitar rock should be.

Start with opener ‘It’s Probably Not Your Fault’ – my favourite track on the album, because it IS Soccer Mom. Crawling out of an aluminium bin with the requisite fast-approaching din, we enter the kind of loud-sedate territory that Archers Of Loaf made (make?) their own, creating a cacophony of fuzz and cymbals amidst the sonorous chorus, everything tempered with gazed-shoe precision (including the feedback-toying close). Its that sense of frivolity and earnestness tagteaming amongst the chaos that makes them such an enthralling listen. Elsewhere the is the swirling guitars and disembodied of vocals of ‘Orejas’; the glazed dreaminess of ‘No One Left’; the anguished stutter of (im)personality on ‘Dry Mind’; and the crowded instrumental interlude in the middle of ‘Hideaway Sands’ is the kinda things that coalesces into a vibrant catharsis of crossed strings and smashed slings that Deerhunter-via-Sonic Youth revel in. The brooding closer ‘Open Heart Surgery’ is more openly abrasive, still tempered by crooned insistence, but offering an expulsion that to be honest doesn’t even need to come - if you aren’t an acolyte by album’s end, why are you still here?

The band continue to connect, playing alongside the likes of Weekend, Whirr, Speedy Ortiz and Nothing, bands in particular that embody the yin and the yang of Soccer Mom’s aesthetic. I know there will be albums this year that will grab my attention harder and for longer, but this is such a solid opening gambit longplayer, especially having listened from the beginning, that it’s hard not to get rabidly excited. Well done guys. Soccer Mom is out now through 100m Records – you should definitely get this.

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