Siskiyou - Not Somewhere - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Siskiyou - Not Somewhere

by Mark Moody Rating:8 Release Date:2019-05-17
Siskiyou - Not Somewhere
Siskiyou - Not Somewhere

It’s tough being a modern man.  Where once virile samurai charged with protecting their lands are now relegated to the ignominy of taking out the trash on Tuesday as a nod to a heroic deed.  We live in an era where oftentimes the cure is worse than the disease.  A time where prescription drug labels warn of deadly erections and suicidal side effects.  Siskiyou’s Colin Huebert knows these things all too well.  Huebert is essentially operating Siskiyou as a one-man show these days, or at least he was at the time of the recording of latest album Not Somewhere.  The album's parts and pieces were recorded back in 2015 and are just now seeing the light of day. 

Playing most of the instruments himself, Huebert’s album contends with modern day disenchantment, disconnectedness, and overall disinterest.  “What happens to me if I don’t do a goddamn thing” Huebert ponders in the acoustically driven opener ‘Stop Trying’.  The song was recorded for friend Stefan Sagmeister’s documentary The Happy Film, where Sagmeister went through all manner of processes to try and manufacture elation on demand.  Of course, there is no magic bullet for that and Huebert explores the idea further over the balance of the album.  Having already seen the movie, Huebert’s characters are already resigned over to getting through how they can.  Even the nemesis in the darker ‘What Ifs’ doesn’t hold the presence of Jagger’s Satan of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ who was standing by at the executions of Christ and the Kennedy’s.  Huebert’s baddie only musters up the power to have held the door at Watergate.  It’s just as hard to be a saint in the city as it is the devil in the details it seems.

Though Huebert evidences stewing in his own juices a bit too long a’la Syd Barrett, the music takes a shaggier turn.  ‘The End II/Song of Joy’ in all its acoustic majesty jumps straight from the softer moments of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.  While the anthemic build of ‘Unreal Erections/Severed Heads’ adds in stately horns at the end to elevate the song over its subject of being “22nd Century poor”.  Several years on from its recording Huebert was not only prescient at the time, but he would also likely be more disgusted today with humanity’s further surrender to technology.  If the album has a signature song, it's most likely ‘Nothing Disease’, though the song’s lovely chorus overcomes the pathos of the song.  Even the ragged shamble of ‘Her Aim Is Tall’ has a tuneful thread to it. 

All in all, Not Somewhere’s half-hour course makes a fitting companion for what ails us.  Huebert has documented his struggle with auditory issues and being a drummer at inception (though here he proves himself worthy at many an instrument) that has to be a challenge.  Similar to Sagmeister’s film, Not Somewhere provides no easy fixes, but the one thing there is clearly no cure for is Huebert’s inability to craft a song that is less than musically compelling.  The prior sentence has a lot of negatives thrown about like the album itself.  But if naming your fears is the first step in an effort to conquering them, Not Somewhere towers in triumph for that alone.  Hopefully, Huebert has been compelled to make further music since this was recorded, so the wait between albums is not so long. 

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