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New Music: Art School Girlfriend - Soft Landing

Album cover for Aft School Girlfriend's new record, Soft Landing

Escapism is something that we all need at times. The world can feel scary, overwhelming, and challenging.

We need to find moments to help us drift away and embrace feelings of contentment and joy. Music can give us all of that and more, we are so fortunate to have creative people who are not prepared to give up on the music industry despite the challenges that musicians face on a daily basis. Polly Mackey is one of those people whose creativity continues to grow and develop. It is not easy for artists like Polly to get her music heard, to earn a living from it. I recently read that Polly, like many other musicians, has to hold down a job so she can have a guaranteed income. This is despite being signed to a major record label. Thankfully Polly loves her art, loves creating music and has recently released Soft Landing, the second album under the name Art School Girlfriend.

As soon as you start listening to Soft Landing and you hear the dreamy sounds that emerge from A Place To Lie you instantly know you are onto something special. You have just started your journey with an album that is going to consume you for a very long time indeed. Close To The Clouds follows with a plethora of sounds that will be sure to provoke emotions within. This is a song that about looking back, accepting that everything happens for a reason, how we learn from difficult situations we may have been in, and how we would not be who we are today if it was not for all those moments. “Growing up to look back / Not the best, believe that / I would never change a thing / I know I had an easy way out”.

Real Life continues to allow the listener to float away on a cloud and look down on the world and realise that, despite the challenges, the world faces there is still so much beauty to be found on this wonderful planet of ours. Every sound on this album is a mark of creative genius, wait until the slight change in pace on the three minute mark on Real Life, if that doesn’t lift your mood in an instant nothing will. The combination of sounds and Polly’s vocals on Waves as with every song on this album is something that everyone needs to hear and pay attention to. You don’t just wake up one day and decide to create music in this way. These songs are the result of years and years of hard work, pushing the boundaries of creativity and not being scared to try new things.

Soft Landing continues with one great song after another. This is certainly an album that you must listen to from start to finish. I know I say that about most albums as I am still a firm advocate for the art form of the album, but Soft Landing is without doubt an album to consume from start to finish. It’s also an album that you have to listen to as often as you can. Each listen will throw up something new, every time you listen you will hear something different, there will be a beat, a rhythm, a dreamy vocal, a string section, a gentle melody, a soothing soundscape that you didn’t hear the first time that will sweep you off your feet. Before leaving you to do exactly that I will draw your attention to a few other moments that swept me off my feet.

The first of which is The Weeks, I love the way the song builds, the sounds start colliding and fill the world with so much colour and optimism and we are left with a crescendo of noise that makes us feel glad to be alive. Out There, the opening of this song sounds very futuristic and will transport you to a different space and time. Heaven Hanging Low which is in my opinion one of the greatest songs of the year. I love the drum machine that could have been lifted from the 80s. I love the combination of gentle melodies and soothing vocals that provide so much warmth and comfort to the listener. I love the lyric “Pulling planets out the sky / taking a bite”, I found this very inspirational that belief that the planets are within reach and anything is possible.

The album comes to a beautiful close with How Do You Do It? and Too Bright, both of which continue to capture the imagination of the listener, ensuring we are kept away from the real world whilst in the company of Soft Landing. When the album does come to its conclusion, and it is time to return to the real world we do so with feelings of contentment and optimism and are ready to appreciate and love everything that we have in this life.

Soft Landing is out now on Fiction Records

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