A supple swing beat greets us as we descend into the broodingly textured rhythm that adorns the opening bards of “So Far Away,” the all-new single and lyric video from Jas Frank & the Intoits. Comprised of a minimalistic string groove, a stoic vocal from Frank and a blustery bassline driving its percussive stomp, “So Far Away” doesn’t break the mold on conventional pop music, but it certainly imparts a melancholic melody better than most of the indie singles that I’ve had the chance to take a look at this spring have. It’s an excellent representation of what listeners can expect out of The Girl from Cherry Valley, the official debut LP from Jas Frank & the Intoits, which was also released earlier this year to critical acclaim.
The relationship between the vocal and the springy percussion is almost more defining of the narrative in “So Far Away” than the lyrics are on their own. In the moment that we first observe their poetic interactions, it becomes obvious that trying to stop the chill-inducing groove from doing what it does best is next to impossible. Frank has an amazing voice, and she does a terrific job of weaving it into these beats so seamlessly from behind the microphone that the harmony doesn’t require all that much attention in the master mix. It’s smooth and soft from start to finish, and even if it isn’t quite as loud or boisterous as the guitar parts are, that doesn’t impede the heavenly harmonization from revealing a horde of emotions lying just beneath the surface of these verses.
In the lyric video for “So Far Away,” Jas Frank & the Intoits make no attempt to steer the focus away from the music; instead of weighing down the imagery with a lot of pomp and over the top visuals, we get some basic illustrations that are strung together in an aesthetically-pleasing sequence. It’s not overly artsy, nor does it feel too conceptual for the song that it’s interpreting. Through and through, “So Far Away” as a video is simple, has zero frills and is centered one hundred percent on its stunning soundtrack, which doesn’t need any assistance with regards to captivating us from under the spotlight (where it inarguably belongs). In a year that has been riddled with ridiculous excess, this band is thankfully taking the opposite course of action here.
“So Far Away” is one of the more addictive pop tunes from the whole of The Girl from Cherry Valley, and easily one of the staple songs of the current set that Jas Frank & the Intoits have been working with.
It’s not the most sprawling composition on their new record, and though I probably would have approached the master mix with a slightly more traditionalist attitude with respect to the guitars, I can’t find anything dismissible about this magnetizing melody and its integral instrumentation. Frank is singing her heart out at lead vocal and finds an able supporting cast in the Intoits, and if this is along the lines of where their scene is collectively going at this stage of the game, American attention is going to be quite easy for this crew to come by.