Album Review: Ian Sweet – ‘Crush Crusher’

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For anyone who has spent the better part of their life bending over backwards for others and putting others above themselves. For anyone who has always found that they are reaching out first and trying to save people from their own problems. For anyone who has a tendency to be completely selfless to have it never reciprocated. IAN SWEET’s Crush Crusher is your validated anthem.

IAN SWEET, predominantly comprised of Jillian Medford, has proved just how raw and completely intimate her talents have grown to be on her Sophomore LP. Following the nuanced and subtle symbolization of her debut, Shapeshifter, Crush Crusher barrels roughly into Medford’s ongoing struggles with interpersonal relationships. Unlike prior work, the record doesn’t thrum with a climax that’s never reached —a clash that is muddled to a mere tussle. It acts as a declaration that sharpens the softened edges that her image hung on. Crush Crusher is appropriately named for the demolition of not only her past projects but of the misery that has come with toxic relationships and the poison that has came with vulnerability.

The entirety of the sophomore effort is equivalent to Medford staring at her reflection in the haze of a post-shower mirror. She’s bare, pointing her finger at the woman in the mirror, working through her own self-examination. It’s personal. It’s relateable. It’s almost too personal, but the emotional nudity she embellishes on Crush Crusher through just the every day exhaustion of appeasing others, is what she describes as just “a little bit of hiding” on the heavily ripped lead-single “Hiding.” It’s something that every 20-something can attest to when bumbling through our existential-depression and budding anxieties in a growing society of relational oblivion.

The juxtaposition of Medford’s sugary sweet vocals against such brash and nervy lyrics is, ultimately, what causes Crush Crusher to gleam. “Falling Fruit” brings back the famous Karen O screech that acts as a comfort to all who knows and loves it. “Hiding” is the livelier track featuring gripping guitars and slick hooks, giving itself the right to be the album’s opener. “Holographic Jesus” stands as being the most pleasing track with its variety of tonal and tempo changes that really stretches the talents of IAN SWEET.

But, it’s the most self-referential songs that gift Medford a standing ovation. “Bug Museum,” “Borrowed Body,” and “Your Arms Are Water” are reclamations that harshly and rightly assert ownership of herself while being too-aware of how others can affect your wellbeing. The lyrical staunch on these tracks are firm in how unprocessed the subject matter is. It’s obvious that Medford uses her songwriting as catharsis —an emotional synergy that bleeds into every semblance of Crush Crusher.

With the holidays soon arriving, IAN SWEET is a godsend to everyone who falls into seasonal depression or cynical self-evaluation. As heavy and direct the record is both in musicality and lyricism, Medford does give some sort of remedy to those experiencing the same strife. Crush Crusher isn’t a self-help book. It isn’t a step-by-step guide on fixing yourself from the inside out. But, it’s a hand to hold and a friend to stand by as it admits what you’ve been keeping caged inside your own chest. It’s the tough love that one so desperately needs but doesn’t want to hear. IAN SWEET’s sophomore effort is the kick of solidarity between yourself and Jillian Medford, and it will keep you fueled throughout the winter.

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great/ Phenomenal


Out now on Hardly Art.

Hope Ankney | @hope_ankleknee

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