Jack River Sugar MountainA drifter through time and space, Jack River (Holly Rankin) invites you to investigate the layers of her intimate debut album.

First of all, be prepared for Her Smile to stop you in your tracks. The delicate opener is dedicated to the artist’s late sister; it was during that disastrous part of Rankin’s teenage life that her alter-ego Jack River was born.

Caught somewhere in between real life and a preserved vision, it’s hard to pigeonhole Sugar Mountain into a genre. Fault Line feels like a teenage movie montage but lyrically is grief-stricken, alienated mourning. For me, it’s what sums this record up the best: If you look only at SM through the sparkling, rose-coloured glasses that River has draped over the album, you might not be rewarded with uncovering the confidential and vulnerable world she has created – but which she is encouraging you to discover.

So High struts along Lana Del Rey vibes, Ballroom is freedom suspended in the perfect moment, and Stardust & Rust dreams of one more fleeting moment. Closer In Infinity releases her from her fears: “When you lose your fear you’re standing on a boat that can go anywhere,” she hums over an acoustic guitar, like she’s sitting, reflecting, at a saloon in a black and white Western.

Sugar Mountain is out June 22 via I OH YOU.

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