Ian Candy’s new album, Sucker, opens with mortal concern. “What if I die?” Jilian Medford wonders; after a piano chord rings out for a second, she continues: She’s afraid she’ll go “with this track in my head,” that she’ll “by no means get to sing it.” Medford isn’t any stranger to high-stakes songwriting: She wrote most of 2021’s bold and emotionally wealthy Present Me How You Disappear after spending two months in an intensive outpatient psychological well being program. Writing that document, Medford advised Rolling Stone, was a means of “sifting by the weeds, greedy onto issues, like, ‘I hope this lyric will assist me actually to outlive.’”
However regardless of its opening strains, Sucker doesn’t reprise that make-or-break depth. As an alternative, Medford dials down the stress, turning her consideration to extra mundane crises: letting herself fall for somebody who will in all probability break her coronary heart; the quiet aftermath of a breakup; reducing her bangs although she swore she wouldn’t. Retaining her dedication to emotional transparency, she leans into high-adrenaline hooks and poignant self-reflection with confidence and grit.
Medford produced the document alongside Alex Craig and Unusual Ranger’s Isaac Eiger, working at an artists’ residency on the Outlier Inn, a Catskill Mountains institution the place 24-hour studio entry supplied them area for experimentation and spontaneity. The songs are tightly constructed, however don’t really feel buttoned-up; even after they cope with bruising feelings, there’s a present of lightheartedness and enjoyable. The propulsive and fuzzy “Your Spit” displays on the doubt that accompanies new relationships, however it’s additionally simply in regards to the thrill of creating out. Her voice, which begins close to a whisper, turns into a shriek of pleasure when the large synths kick in.
“Emergency Contact” and “Sucker,” with their shoegaze guitars and catchy hooks, are a deft synthesis of Ian Candy’s indie rock beginnings and Medford’s playful pop instincts. Throughout the album, she tweaks a basic quiet-loud recipe simply sufficient that songs like “Smoking Once more” and “Your Spit,” with all their swerves and eruptions, really feel like joyrides. In the direction of the again half, that catharsis can verge on predictable, however sensible manufacturing thrives—the creaky synth line on “Clear,” the corroded climax of “Exhausting”—frequently push the music into stranger, extra ingenious territory.
Medford grounds her lyrics in memorable, off-kilter specificity: the melodic hum of energy strains throughout a protracted drive, the salty style of a kiss, an ex who all the time misspelled her title (“Two Ls when there’s just one/And a G as a substitute of a J”). She takes herself to process, copping to errors with a self-deprecating wink. “I run my mouth/Like I run away/From every thing,” she sings on the understated “Comeback.” When romantic bother arises, she’ll say she had it coming. “I’m a sucker for the ache/And heartbreak,” she admits on the title monitor. If Present Me How You Disappear was a testomony to perseverance and self-reliance in tremendously difficult instances, Sucker is proof that these expertise nonetheless enrich us even when circumstances aren’t so dire. There’s palpable pleasure within the songs’ anthemic buildings and Medford’s vibrant, assured supply, although there are reminders that this self-awareness was hard-won. Medford makes the crying and bleeding sound fortifying nonetheless. “It’s only a lower,” she sings on “Clear,” “and child, I’m powerful.”
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