Winner of the Mercury Prize for her sumptuous first album, the young Arlo Parks has established herself in recent years as one of the new voices of pop. At Parks, this modern pop talks about trauma, mental health, love between women, against a backdrop of R
We hear on My Soft Machine some risk taking. Without getting lost in experimental maze, while keeping her distinct touch, the singer-songwriter does more than with her first album. This is commendable, even if it is not always a guarantee of better quality.
Guitars and synthesizers channel well into music what the lyrics convey. Everything is thought out, very coherent. The pen of Arlo Parks, which had already proven itself, is more precise than ever, more poetic too.
Her soft voice tells us stories to convey emotions. Precise moments that the artist describes with an ease that gives the impression that it is easy to write such beautiful texts. Sometimes, she chooses instead to sing directly the thread of her thoughts. “I wish I was bruiseless,” Parks whispers over the hazy opening track, where her delivery sounds more like spoken word (as she already did on her debut record). She says that almost everyone she loves has been abused, and so has she.
On this album, the Briton still turns to love, what is good about it and the suffering it also causes her. It’s disappointing to realize that Phoebe Bridgers, the only guest on the record, is nearly absent from one of the record’s love songs, Pegasus. However, the potential was enormous.
Special mention to end with the cover of the song Mystery of Love, by Sufjan Stevens, which can be found on the special edition of the disc. The piece, already perfect when Stevens performs it, is poignantly sweet and beautiful in the hands of Arlo Parks.