Siskiyou - Nervous - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Siskiyou - Nervous

by Matt Borghi Rating:6 Release Date:2015-01-19

The discordant collage of competing melodies that opens Siskiyou’s Nervous is best listened to with the knowledge of what stimulated it creation. Following Siskiyou's sophomore release Keep Away the Dead in 2011, Siskiyou’s lead singer and songwriter, Colin Huebert became afflicted with an inner-ear malady that created intense, chronic ear-ringing which led to anxiety and panic attacks.

With conventional medicine not able to help, Huebert began focusing on meditation, retreated to silence for a period, and then began rehearsing his new songs with the band at extremely low volumes. Siskiyou’s Nervous was developed from the silence of Huebert’s feeling of being trapped in one's head. It’s the feeling of isolation, being haunted by one’s self, that frames Nervous best.

Whether it’s the opening track, Deserter, with its subdued indie songwriter aesthetic punctuated by Colin Stetson’s muted saxophone, or The Velvet Underground quality of the title track, this recording has a playfulness of fresh awareness that intersects with the world-weary perspective of a man haunted by himself. In fact, it’s this tension between these two, seemingly contradictionary, perspectives that injects a lot of conflict into the music, lyrically, and sonically.

While Nervous is relatively lo-fi, the fact remains that it’s a significant production using all manner of instrumentation, from the aforementioned saxophone of Colin Stetson to banjo and synthesizers, all lending a hand to carry the weight of the musical message. This recording, while rich in production, is never too clean or sanitized; the immediacy of the songs never gets comprised in an attempt towards a refined final 'product', a fact both refreshing and satisfying.

Ultimately, Nervous, is a solid recording, with its 10 almost literary tunes which lend themselves well to low-light listening. There are notes of Modest Mouse, Belle & Sebastian and especially Doug Yule-era Velvet Underground. There’s no single song on Nervous that sticks out, rather all of the songs together create a unified listening experience that captures an essence or a feeling of trying to get in touch with one’s place in the world. 

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