ian sweet Shapeshifter (CD, £12.25)label: Hardly Art
“IAN SWEET’s indie pop packs the personality that [Hardly Art] is known for, spinning conventional rock band setups into output that is unconventional.” -- Consequence of Sound. “They’ve relocated across the USA, gone on three tours, eaten a lot of donuts, climbed rocks and worn crocs.” -- Noisey. "The unmistakable voice of singer Jillian Medford is a force that stands all on its own." -- Boston Hassle. “I have a way of loving too many things to take on just one shape,” Jilian Medford sings over and over again on the title track of the Brooklyn-based band IAN SWEET’s debut album, Shapeshifter, repeating it like a mantra. This is Medford’s thesis statement, a narrator to carry us through Shapeshifter, which is above all else a meditation on loneliness and displacement. It’s about losing love and your sense of self in the process, about grabbing at the little things in life that bring joy when nothing else is going according to plan. It’s also an ode to the bandmates, and the friends, that see you through. IAN SWEET started in 2014 with a string of text messages. Medford was a few days away from embarking on her first tour when the driver and drummer she recruited cancelled. Medford sent IAN SWEET drummer Tim Cheney -- whom she barely knew -- a series of desperate messages, asking if he knew how to drum and whether or not he would be willing to take two weeks off of life to go on tour. Cheney responded soon after with a simple: “Yes.” Accompanied by Cheney and bassist Damien Scalise’s playful instrumentation, Shapeshifter becomes a celebratory purging, an album that finds humor in self-deprecation and vice. IAN SWEET’s debut interrogates capital-e Existence through a candy-coated lens, their mathy precision scaffolding the chaos of Medford’s personal neurosis and turning those anxieties into something hook-laden and relatable. And though the narrative of Shapeshifter clings to an ex-lover, the yearning felt on this album isn’t directed at a particular individual so much as it’s turned inward. “You know the feeling. When you really like someone, you forget to do anything for yourself, you forget all of the things that gave you your shape,” Medford says. “The things that form your absolute.” Tracks: 01. Pink Marker 02. Slime Time Live 03. #23 04. 2soft2chew 05. Cactus Couch 06. Shapeshifter 07. All Skaters Go to Heaven 08. Knife Knowing You 09. Quietly Streaming 10. Pink Marker 2.
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