Jack River Talks Parenthood and How the Climate Crisis Inspired New Album ‘Endless Summer’

Music

The new LP is influenced by sounds of the ’60s and ’70s when artists “were living through political turmoil but making escapist music.”

Jack River

Photo by Laura Smith

Life is non-stop right now for Jack River, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

The singer and songwriter (real name: Holly Rankin) has never been shy of piling on a heaving workload, which has included festival and events organizing, advocating for women in music, and rallying broadcasters and businesses in her homeland, Australia, to lift their game when it comes to supporting homegrown talent.

River recently took on life’s most challenging project — parenthood.

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Jack River

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Joining the club hasn’t changed her. Indeed, “it has magnified and re-ignited parts of my mind and spirit that have been sleeping, or out of view,” she tells Billboard. “It has uncovered a whole load of stamina, as every day is some kind of marathon, even if it’s a peaceful day – there is hardly any stopping. I am grateful for the way it has let me see the world again for the first time, suddenly flowers and lights and bubbles and leaves are magical and new again.”

Just prior to finding out she was expecting her first child, the Sydney-based creative got down to writing Endless Summer, her sophomore album which drops Friday (June 16).

Endless Summer spans 10 songs, each of which captures completely different places on the emotional spectrum, River explains. The record is an oasis, she continues, something to retreat to amid the unfolding disaster that is climate change.

River’s homeland is at the frontline, with millions of her countrymen and women confronted by bushfire, drought and floods in recent years.

Endless Summer is inspired by activism, and sounds of the ‘60s and ‘70s when artists “were living through political turmoil but making escapist music,” she continues. Think the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Joni Mitchell.

Its production and narrative “speaks to the endless summer we are living through – in our minds; the delusional holiday that pop culture seems to be living in,” she says, “and the physical endless summer we are entering as the climate crisis engulfs our future.”

Hailing from the NSW coastal hometown of Forster, River — a pirate name Rankin inherited in her teens — enjoyed a breakthrough with the indie-pop gem “Fool’s Gold,” from 2017. The song blew up on the triple j network, cracking the youth network’s annual Hottest 100 poll and establishing River as an elite talent.

Endless Summer is the followup to her debut LP Sugar Mountain, which followed in 2018, peaking at No. 11 on the ARIA Albums Chart and earning multiple award nominations, and the 2020 EP Stranger Heart.

The new collection features the previously-released cuts “Real Life,” “Nothing Has Changed,” “Lie In The Sun,” the title track “Endless Summer” with Genesis Owusu, and “Honey,” which she wrote with Matt Corby and Jarryd James, at the former’s studio Rainbow Valley.

As it finds its way into the world, “I want to walk a fine line between explaining what this album means to me and where it came from,” River notes, “and just letting people take the album and let it dissolve into their own lives for their own reasons.”

Endless Summer arrives via Nettwerk in North America and I Oh You, part of the Mushroom Group, in Australia.

Stream it below.

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