Reaching out is never easy, and in the last year, it’s been near impossible. Isolated in her house in Yorkshire’s artistic enclave of Hebden Bridge, Soft Focus felt the urge to reach out stronger than ever, and with no other way to do so, turned to her songwriting to help her reconnect with a world in isolation.
Soft Focus is the moniker of Bianca Eddleston, an introspective yet celebratory project that took shape as she was going through both a divorce and then a wild love affair during lockdown. “I have struggled with PTSD and find it very hard to focus and stay present sometimes without dissociating and drifting away in my daydreams,” Eddleston explains of the name. Soft Focus is a chance to step back from the relationship extremes and encourage some “self therapy, pointing a camera at myself”, says Eddleston.
With her work slowing down over the pandemic leaving her with more time to prioritise her music, Soft Focus ended up with an album’s worth of material. After demoing the album within her own four walls, she recruited friend Bill Ryder Jones to co-produce with her, decamping to Yawn Studios in West Kirby and crafting two of these tracks into perfect shape.
‘Won’t Tell’ and ‘Easy for Me’ – the first pieces of Soft Focus that have been offered out – are indebted to the 70s soft rock and pop, with the atmospheric yet crisp sounds of acts like Fleetwood Mac, Carol King and Elton John. But there’s a minimalism that permeates as well, and small flourishes that bring the tracks firmly into the present. Airy vocals drape themselves across punchy basslines and kinetic guitars, with Bianca indulging her love of vintage synths to add the kind of swirling haziness that allow the tracks to live up to the name Soft Focus.
Soft Focus may have been born from isolation but now she is reaching out, gifting us with two perfect pieces of glossy yet lo-fi pop. These also represent the first releases on the fledgling Carrie label – a new venture from the creators of GigList that aims to elevate and celebrate female musicians, producers, and female-presenting voices. On ‘Easy for Me’ and ‘Won’t Tell’, Soft Focus provides the perfect introduction to both herself and the new label, and with an album due in the Autumn, this is only the beginning.