Jillian Medford used to perform alone, but through her cross-country travels and tribulations, her solo act picked up bassist Damien Scalise and drummer Tim Cheney — two people Medford told The Fader share a “telepathic” connection. Becoming a full-fledged trio known as IAN SWEET, the new-found group has been busy touring with Chastity Belt and performing at their label Hardly Art’s SXSW tent. “We just came to yell our name really loud,” the band joked.
IAN SWEET have since turned up their amps with enough enthusiasm to rock us into a state of burnt-out and fuzzy early-’00s nostalgia. Full of swirling guitar drones, lo-fi drums, and Medford’s energetic, squealing vocals, their debut record Shapeshifter hits hard with tracks like “Slime” and “#23.” But that’s not to say that IAN SWEET doesn’t still have a softer side: Songs like “2soft2chew,” “Quietly Streaming,” and “Cactus Couch” show a more warm and bubbly persona of the group as well. Coupled with Medford’s passionate, personal lyrics, IAN SWEET’s versatility as a band holds Shapeshifter true to its name.
It’s still how I feel about the record even though it’s March 2017 and Shapeshifter came out last September, but I wish I talked more about how much I like their song “Slime Time Live.” Sure, it might’ve been weird to focus on just one song in an album review, but I think it deserves at least one paragraph more.
“Slime Time Live,” for those of you who aren’t aware, was a game show on Nickelodeon in which, if you knew the answer to a question, you got “slimed,” meaning that a bucket of green goop was poured all over you. The show holds the Guinness World Record for most people slimed, though I couldn’t imagine how many sliming’s were done on a regular basis outside of “Slime Time Live.”
But “Slime Time Live” isn’t just an ode to childhood game shows, it actually hits a bit deeper. In her interview with The Fader, Medford wrote that the song was actually about her depression: it’s “about something, anything that completely consumes or covers you.” To me, it’s a beautiful comparison, one that not only makes light out of something dark, but also references the nostalgia of children’s cartoons. Like a bucket full of slime looming over you, you never know what life will dump on you next.