Today it’s with great pleasure that we release Jack River’s debut album into the world!
Sugar Mountain is a phosphorescent album. It seems to glow with pop highs and spacey riffs, but come closer and you’ll glimpse the darkness in its depths. The first clue is in the title, says Holly Rankin. Sugar Mountain is named after Neil Young’s bittersweet ode to youth and the loss of innocence. As Rankin explains it, “It’s the souvenir of my youth, the wish of what it could have been.”
We know Rankin as Jack River, the singer-songwriter who broke through in 2016 with the EP Highway Songs No 2 (Rolling Stone called it “dirty pop doused in glitter with whispers of a Mexican sunset”) and the single ‘Fool’s Gold’. But eleven years ago, a tragedy fractured Rankin’s psyche – and that of the small NSW coastal town she grew up in – when her beloved younger sister died instantly in a freak accident. Rankin found herself adrift, and songwriting became not so much catharsis as a survival tool.
“These songs are all visions of youth that I was almost involved in, but I’m only really able to reach towards it,” she says of Sugar Mountain. “The reality was I was having a completely different experience to that of my friends. They were going to uni and getting jobs, having these bright teenage years. I was in limbo.”
Rankin’s alter ego, Jack River, is imagined as a drifter who bridges eras, genres and dimensions. Perhaps that’s because part of Rankin has been preserved in amber at the age she was when her sister died. Jack allows her the freedom to time travel. She’s noticed that elements of the music she loved as a 14-year-old have crept into Sugar Mountain: gritty guitars from the early 2000s, the “candy chorus vocals” of Gwen Stefani, and the almost parental influences of Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell.
This is an incredibly special album to the I OH YOU family and it’s one that Holly has been working towards since the age of 14. We hope you enjoy it.