I can’t imagine what it would be like to wake up one day to find yourself under attack by the one sense you rely on most for your livelihood and creative outlet. In essence, this is what happened to Siskiyou‘s Colin Huebert, who was beset by a severe inner ear infection that brought on bouts of anxiety and crippling depression after he and his band released 2011’s Keep Away The Dead. Finding no explanation or relief from conventional medicine, Huebert turned to meditation and prolonged periods of silence to soothe his discombobulated brain, and began rehearsing the songs that would eventually become Nervous at very low volume.
I don’t know whether Huebert would go so far as to say that the resulting record was worth the pain and suffering he experienced, but he and band mates Erik Arnesen, Peter Carruthers, Shaunn Watt and Andrew Lee have masterfully channeled the tension, stress, and claustrophobia of being trapped in one’s own head into the electrically charged, twitchy Nervous.
“Jesus In the 70s” evokes some of the same eerie atmospherics The Cure employed on Disintegration but ups the creep-show ante a hundred fold before the jovial-in-comparison “Oval Window” breaks the tension with some well-timed hand-claps. These pair of tracks at Nervous‘s core exemplifies the polarities the record swings between. Nervous is resplendent in moments of beautiful melody and a clarity of sound that cuts through the record’s more chaotic elements (or do the chaotic elements cut through the clarity?) like flashes of solace through suffering.
Siskiyou, along with producer and engineer Leon Taheny and guest musicians Colin Stetson, Owen Pallett, JP Carter, Ryan Driver and the St. James Music Academy Senior Choir, have fashioned an immersive, dramatic experience of sounds both internal and external with Nervous; once it gets into your head, it’ll never come out.