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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