Jas Frank & the Intoits are making some incredible noise
Jas Frank & the Intoits are making some incredible noise in their debut full-length album The Girl from Cherry Valley, and with stirring songs like “High in Space,” “So Far Away,” “In Early Mornings,” “In a Hole” and “All the Highs All the Lows” making up only half of its tracklist, it’s easy to understand why critics on both sides of the Atlantic are abuzz with praise for its creators. 2019 has, thus far, produced some hit and miss results from the international avant-garde scene, but in The Girl from Cherry Valley, we find a diamond in the rough that is, for all intents and purposes, everything serious music aficionados have been looking for this year.
The music video for the album’s lead single “All the Highs All the Lows” is very postmodern in nature, but it’s not structured around its eye-catching visuals alone. The instrumentation finds a second existence in the imagery that is vaulted at us in what feels like slow motion, and while the song only lasts about three and a half minutes total, its textures make it feel much more complex and lengthy. If this is what Jas Frank & the Intoits can do with such little experience under their belts, one has to wonder what’s going to follow in the next year or two alone.
Slaven Bolanca and Marko Gacina make up the ‘Intoits’ in Jas Frank & the Intoits and also handled the mixing duties for The Girl from Cherry Valley, and they don’t disappoint in either role. The master mix is extremely well-defined, to a point where songs like “High in Space,” “Human Animal,” “Unlight the Light,” the title track and “Virtual Friends” sound more like live cuts than they do studio recordings. There’s a lot of intricacies in their sound, but none of them are sacrificed in constructing these wicked hooks in the least.
“In Early Mornings,” “When the Rain Stops” and “Human Animal” each demonstrate a different element in Jas Frank & the Intoits’ wide range of influences, and I think that, in the grander scheme of things, their music is among the more difficult to categorize using traditional genre labels. The Girl from Cherry Valley dabbles in alternative rock dynamics as much as it does swelling psychedelia and swarthy string grooves, and for the most part the band never uses the same formula in any two of the ten tracks here. There’s making an experimental album, and then there’s what this threesome has done in this release, and believe me – there’s a substantial difference in quality and commitment between the two.
You’d be hard-pressed to find anything as charismatic as Jas Frank & the Intoits’ studded debut in any scene this spring, but as far as the European circuit is concerned, I think it’s safe to say that the continent has found a new band worth celebrating in this skilled Croatian power trio. Their ambient leanings are as gripping as their more focused lyrical attacks are, and my gut tells me that we’ve only just begun to see what sort of magic this group is going to discharge in the years ahead.