Record Reviews

Saint Syzygy: All of My Friends Are Sick

(Independent) Largely a meditation on mental health and the stigma of illness, All of My Friends Are Sick experiments with portraying the range and complexity of emotions that litter the road to recovery. Originally established as a solo endeavor by Kwazymoto’s Ian Hemerlein, Saint Syzygy—rounded out into a full band here with Jake Cooper, Alex Nicholson and Tyler Ryan—carves space to try on different styles. The album’s opening title track begins with whispery chanting that steadily builds into melodic bellowing, which can be interpreted to sonically represent a delayed emotional response or gradually coming to terms with the knowledge that someone dear to you is suffering. This shift in attitude picks up speed with the following track, “She Wants to Lose Motor Function,” an abrasive, pedal-to-the-metal bender that abruptly collapses into a melancholic hangover anchored by a doomy bass line. “Frown in Every Frame” prods at the delicate relationship between an artist’s productivity and health, touching on how the moods, themes and narratives communicated through music and art are often early signs of mental health issues. Ending on a note of hope, closing track “Okay Now What” is a gentle melody that conveys a radical acceptance of needing to rebuild.