BIGGER THAN THE NINETIES
Two indie-pop artists expand their sounds on great new albums
When soccer Mommy broke out of her Nashville bedroom with her 2018 debut, Clean, she was a leader in the Liz Phair-loving Nineties-rock revival. Now, on her third album, she’s still a master of that sound (“Shotgun” is dream-pop perfection). But there’s a more multifaceted angst here, too, especially on glitchy, grueling tunes like “Unholy Affliction” and “Darkness Forever.” The musical and emotional shadow play on the album makes the mind-clearing grandeur of moments like “Feel It All the Time” seem more earned.
Beatrice Laus (the London artist who records as Beabadoobee) spends most of her second album in the sunshine — from an acoustic pleasantry like “Ripples” to the bossa-nova-touched “The Perfect Pair” to the dappled jangle of “Pictures of Us.”
She rocks on “Talk,” which starts out sounding like Madchester in 1989 and turns into offhandedly trenchant power pop an Olivia Rodrigo fan could get down with: “We go together like the gum on my shoes,” she sings to some poor sucker, showing she’s as good with sick burns as she is with plush tunes.