Jack River – Palo Alto

I know I shouldn’t say something like this to myself, but this is really a nice find and I’m quite happy to have stumbled across Aussie singer/songwriter Holly Rankin, a.k.a. Jack River. She caused a stir a couple of months ago, with her single Talk Like That but, whatever was the reason, I shamefully missed it. Luckily for me, she recently dropped a new track from her upcoming debut EP Highway Songs No. 2 and I totally dig it! It’s called Palo Alto and really stands out for its insane, perfect mix of indie-rock songwriting and pop sensibility. The guitar work is rousing but always kicks in with a pop edge, wisely leaving room for Holly’s radiant vocals. The Australian artist is not afraid to experiment within a genre that God only knows how much needs to be revived, using electronic and synths as added values to her sound.

Speaking on the track, Holly said: “I wrote and recorded ‘Palo Alto’ through so many times in my life that the song became a kind of folder for memories and sentiments over a long stretch of time. I started writing it in my hometown, then continued it in Sydney (my friend lived in a building called Palo Alto), and then wrote the rest in different trips to the studio.

It was always destined to be sun-drenched and gritty and gilded in synths and electric guitars – I wanted to find the line between the ’90s, early 2000s and now, and blend all my dreams of a highway song into one. The moment this song came together, production-wise, it felt like the beginning of Jack River. It’s about letting go but not giving up, melancholic-but-sure endings, and people realising magic when it’s too late – even though you knew it all along.

Palo Alto was produced and recorded by Holly herself with the help of longterm collaborators John Castle and Xavier Dunn. Highway Songs No. 2 is out on October 7h via I OH YOU.