Art School Girlfriend, Aka Polly Mackey, has announced that her forthcoming second album Soft Landing, is set to be released via Fiction Records on August 4, 2023. The album is self-described as a series of “small euphorias”, it is an album that finds Mackey shifting her sound towards tactile electronics whilst retaining the floating melodies of her debut.
With the announcement, Mackey has released one of her strongest tracks to date, titled “Close To The Clouds”. The song is an integral part of Soft Landing, with the central refrain providing the album with its title, and the song unfurling into climbing, arpeggiated synths amidst acid-house indebted drums. The track premiered this morning on BBC Radio 6 courtesy of Lauren Laverne.
Going deeper on the track, Mackey says, “Close To The Clouds is about looking back on my twenties with some kind of wistful hindsight. I wanted it to embody the energy of the music I spent a lot of my teenage years and early twenties listening to. It’s about reflecting on the winding path to contentment, having finally figured out how to find it.
“The album title Soft Landing is taken from these lyrics, and this track represents a lot of the record’s themes: reflection, joy, coming of age.”
Soft Landing follows Mackey’s 2020 debut album, Is It Light Where You Are? an album made in the wake of a tumultuous time and released during one. Soft Landing feels like Mackey’s true debut, a record of curiosity and playfulness with songs that sound like they are falling effortlessly into place. Stay tuned for more news.
When Polly Mackey – AKA Art School Girlfriend – released her first album Is It Light Where You Are in 2021, what was a shimmering debut felt to her more like a sublime denouement.
The Welsh producer and multi-instrumentalist’s record revelled in expansive dreamscape sounds and diaristic writing that stretched deep into the emotional peripheries of a then very recent heartbreak. A protracted two years later, Polly was able to tour the record – then, embarking on a new relationship, and reconsidering her creative mode. While the album garnered critical celebration for its visceral aural textures and lucid themes, for Polly, it was inflected with alienation. “By the time it was out in the world, I felt unattached to it,” she shares. “This new record truly feels like my debut.”
Soft Landing is the culmination of Art School Girlfriend’s contemporary artistic testament. It represents a tonal shift and tenure in a much more contented and philosophical state of being. The title presented itself to her through the frequency illusion: a turn of phrase thrown up in overheard conversation, and mentioned on the news. “‘Soft landing’ showed up to strike me when things were falling into place,” Polly says. “I was at that typical moment where you’re leaving your 20s and realising you don’t have to work toward this concept of future happiness. Going to the pub with your mates can be the ultimate. Lying beside the person you love, watching the sun come in, can be it.”