There is something comforting in the expected. People like routines, but then even routine expectations can become unexpected. What I’m saying is that maybe I know what Ian Sweet sounds like. I have listened to enough “indie” music to have an impression of what to predict. However, on this project, “Crush Crusher,” my expectations are met by a little of the uncanny as if I heard this album and it sounded eerily like what I’d expect. And that makes it all the more unexpected.
Part of the intrigue of this album is how it doesn’t exactly reinvent an indie rock sound, but executes an enjoyable effect nonetheless. Listen to the first track, “Hiding,” which, like most of the songs, doesn’t have an abundance of lyrics and instead opts for compellingly short repeated phrases. Track two, “Spit,” has probably the most memorable chorus on the album as lead singer Jilian Medford echoes: “You’ll go, and I’ll get swallowed, by someone else’s spit, by someone else’s spit.”
On Ian Sweet’s sophomore album, “Crush Crusher,” the lyrics often veer toward the seemingly mundane observations of the everyday, or repeated simple phrases that employ the less-is-more philosophy to communicate intimate emotions. Maybe it is a cliche to say that a songwriter lets the listener into the inner workings of their mind in an album. To describe an album that way is probably inaccurate most of the time because any creative expression is personal in some way. But I am going to ignore all of that and describe this album as such. Like I said before, plenty of indie artists get personal and maybe I wasn’t surprised to find it here but then it must be explained why it is so potent on this project.
The answer is not too abstract or anything, this album isn’t a giant off in the hills doomed to be unexplained, “Crush Crusher” is effective in a number of ways. The music itself is often a mix of a couple emotions like on the track “Borrowed Body” which has a slightly melancholic sound mixed with powerful guitars and a pretty danceable groove. On top of all of that, the lyrics are simple and profound at the same time, like the opening lines, “With my borrowed body, I asked for more than I’m willing to feel,” which really don’t let the listener ignore the more complex emotions being communicated.
One possible downside to this album could be how similar many of the songs sound, though I urge the listener not to lean toward any feelings that this could be so. Part of what works about the consistent sound is that the slight variations in songs can each sound unique to the blueprint while remaining connected to expectations. That’s why Ian Sweet succeed on their second album, they give you what you think you want mixed in with plenty of what you didn’t know you wanted. And by the end you don’t really remember what you ever really wanted before, but you know that you like this album.