Jas Frank & the Intoits have been taking the alternative underground by storm in 2019, and after watching their new lyric video for the song “So Far Away,” it’s easy to see what all of the hype has been about. Where other songs on the group’s debut album The Girl from Cherry Valley are more conservative in structure, this single basks in the grandiosity of its heart-melting harmonies, swinging drumbeat and bountiful vocal melodies, which could be the best that the band has recorded so far. “So Far Away” is a blunt ballad that isn’t marred with complacent lyricism, and that’s not so easy to find nowadays.
There’s not very much bass in this track, but the mix is still beefy in all the right ways. The string grooving is agile and smooth, and even rivals the presence of the percussion in a couple of noteworthy spots close to the chorus. I like that the bassline isn’t in the forefront of the mix, because were it put before the guitars, the harmony that they conjure up with Frank wouldn’t be as crisp and clean. The bottom line, from my viewpoint, is that when we take away the lyrics, the tonality of the instruments is the bread and butter of this single above all else.
The guitars are bright and chirpy, which adds some warmth to the vocal track and makes Frank’s words seem all the more intimate and vulnerable. The Girl from Cherry Valley is all about its pleasant, honest poetry, but I probably like this song more than the others on the record because of the way it highlights Frank’s ability to gel with the melody of the strings to the point where it’s hard to differentiate one from another (especially when the adrenaline is pumping at maximum capacity in the chorus).
I think it’s obvious that “So Far Away” was produced with the college radio crowd in mind, but I don’t think that it’s the poppiest song on The Girl from Cherry Valley. That title would go to “All the Highs All the Lows,” the first single from the record, which won me over last month and made me quite excited to write a review for the band’s follow-up. “So Far Away” raises the bar even higher than its predecessor did, because not only does it have an FM-quality varnish that will make it an impeccable choice for regular rotation, it offers us a better glimpse into the multidimensional skillset that this group has as songwriters.
As far as lyric videos go, Jas Frank & the Intoits’ “So Far Away” is one of the better releases that I’ve seen this month, mostly due to its fabulous musical backdrop and the multitude of emotions that it’s capable of drawing from us when we’re least expecting it. Most of the American bands that fall under the same alternative umbrella that this group does fail to remember the one rule that it would seem Frank and the Intoits live by religiously in this single – bigger is always better when making hooky pop/rock, and that’s why “So Far Away” works so astonishingly well.