Siskiyou breaks down barriers on Keep Away the Dead

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Keep Away the Dead (Constellation)

Despite its overall rootsy mood, folk-tinged Siskiyou’s sophomore set, Keep Away the Dead, plays best when the outfit’s not catering to the cabin-rock set. That’s not to say that rustic, acoustic-guitar tunes like “Sing Me to Sleep” are snoozers. It’s just that the band has more to offer than country-flavoured Canadiana.

Opener “Keep Away the Dead” initially offers listeners a tranquil blend of echoey, trilled-out guitar notes, ethereal keyboard swipes, and singer Colin Huebert’s shushed vocals. Just seconds later, though, the tune plunges into a bizarre but beautiful cacophony headed by junked-up guitar stabs and a processed drumbeat that suggests Aphex Twin cutting up a Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich battle.

The album keeps things jazzy on “Twigs and Stones”, which would be a toe-tappin’ jug-band stomp if not for the freeform sax skronks that sound off mid-song. “Not the Kind”, meanwhile, demonstrates a becoming fragility. With two albums under its belt in just over a year, Siskiyou could be headed toward a prolific career. Considering how wildly it’s veered off the folk path thus far, it’ll be interesting to see what barriers the act breaks down.

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