By contributing writer Jesse Jernigan
Ian Sweet’s Shapeshifter album is a wholesome work that far exceeded my expectations going into it. I tried to put a pin on the genre, mindlessly shrugging it off as “Indie” like many other strange genres without a definitive home, but that seemed wrong. The band actually labels their genre as “Snack Food,” which I think is brilliant. Snacks are a type of food that we intake for pleasure, and are usually different from the foods we get used to
normally eating. In the same way, Shapeshifter utilizes a music archetype that I would use to get away from the routine and mundanity of my normal life. I am going to play this album on my drive home from a tiring day of work or school feeling an appreciation for life. I think this album has that effect on me because of the variance between each song.
Because of this variance, don’t try to listen to the album wanting each track to fit your idea of a perfect song. While a song like “Pink Marker” can provide a very solemn atmosphere (an experience I enjoy sometimes on a contemplative drive alone), another song like “Cactus Couch” can leave you feeling weightless and free. For that reason, there are obviously songs from Shapeshifter that I would love to listen to on a road trip with friends, while some are better appreciated in one’s alone time working on projects or homework. It is the type of album that you may want to do a bit of maneuvering around, but I do not think that is a bad thing.
I think Ian Sweet offers a lot of quality product per album, and the abundant variance
between songs is an aspect that its audience will appreciate even if it initially catches them off guard.
At just over a total of forty minutes long, you could listen to all of Shapeshifter in an
average ride to and from work. After losing track of the number of times I have listened to it, I will be first one to tell you that it is worth giving a shot. And once you’ve finished it, feel free to check out Ian Sweet’s self-titled EP and singles; they’re just as good.