Joining a growing band of artists emerging from the pandemic ready to release a debut album, and a hotly anticipated one at that, is Polly Mackey aka Art School Girlfriend. Softer Side is the first track to be taken from Is It Light Where You Are and pushes all the right experimental buttons. Described as “the most diaristic track on the record”, the single is wistful and nostalgic, built around electronic flourishes and Mackey’s honeyed vocals. Mackey has previously commented that she wants to create music with a sense of “lusty longing”. Well, consider that mission accomplished with Softer Side, which is a perfect balance of melancholy and warmth, even if the underlying message represents the inner turmoil surrounding a relationship that doesn’t live up to expectations (“It’s easy to feel this good when I push you from my mind / The end that never stays / By the time I can speak there’s nothing left to say”). To accompany the album release announcement (the record is out September 10), there’s also a UK tour scheduled for the autumn, with tickets on sale now. With Softer Side progressing Art School Girlfriend’s music another step in the right direction, the future continues to be bright.