Siskiyou – Nervous Constellation Records, 2015

The music of Siskiyou hit me in an unexpected place a few years ago, and it continues to do so. It’s somehow been four years since the last release, and three years since I first picked up their self-titled.

Reading the story of Colin Huebert’s recent health troubles with sound sensitivity, you might think Nervous would somehow be a quieter record than the previous two, but it’s actually a bit louder, leveraging bolder, more bombastic arrangements than before. The album’s title is pretty on point though – Nervous is an album of frayed nerves.

It’s a deeply personal recording, dealing with fear, paranoia, anxiety, and simple day-to-day human struggles. These songs are on all set on edge, with jittery guitars and vocals whispered on the verge of a scream. That’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom all the time – there are a couple of more upbeat tracks in the mix. Personal highlights include the pop-inflected “Wasted Genius”, the scathing and bitter “Jesus in the 70s”, and the unconventionally anthemic “Imbecile Thoughts”.

Siskiyou’s earlier folksy leanings are somewhat muted on Nervous in favour of a more indie-rock sound – a necessary evolution perhaps, but the resulting album doesn’t scratch exactly the same itch for me that the first two did. Still, I find myself just as painfully in love with Siskiyou as ever, whatever shape they pour themselves into.

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