Arlo Parks sophomore album, My Soft Machine, is a deeply personal body of work; a narration of Parks' experiences as she navigates her 20's and the growth intertwined. It follows her highly-praised debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams, which received two GRAMMY nominations for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album, won the BRIT Award for Best New Artist, received the Honda Mercury Prize, won the BBC Introducing Artist Of The Year Award, was nominated for Breakthrough International Act at the BET Awards and reached the top 3 on the UK Album Charts.
Parks shares about how the new album and album title came to fruition: "The world/our view of it is peppered by the biggest things we experience - our traumas, upbringing, vulnerabilities almost like visual snow. This record is life through my lens, through my body - the mid 20s anxiety, the substance abuse of friends around me, the viscera of being in love for the first time, navigating PTSD and grief and self-sabotage and joy, moving through worlds with wonder and sensitivity- what it's like to be trapped in this particular body.
There is a quote from a Joanna Hogg film called The Souvenir, it's an A24 semi-autobiographical film with Tilda Swinton - it recounts a young film student falling in love with an older, charismatic man then being drawn into his addiction - in an early scene he's explaining why people watch films - 'we don't want to see life as it is played out we want to see life as it is experienced in this soft machine.' So, there we have it... My Soft Machine."
The album was recorded between London and Los Angeles throughout 2021/2022. Arlo worked alongside producers including Paul Epworth, Ariel Rechtshaid, Romil Hemnani (Brockhampton), Frank Ocean-collaborator Buddy Ross, and Carter Lang (SZA), whilst also self-producing a run of material on the album. The record features a guest vocal from musician and friend, Phoebe Bridgers.