Watford quartet Nervus have been taking the UK underground scene by storm ever since the release of their debut record ‘Permanent Rainbow’ in 2016 – a record that was filled with radio-friendly tracks that treaded on the bleaker and darker side of indie rock. The LP was incredibly well received, and what followed were a whirlwind couple of years which culminated in a slot on a UK tour with Creeper.
It’s a daunting prospect to follow a successful debut release, which refers to the infamous “difficult second album”, and many bands have fallen at the first hurdle in the past. Every band has an aim to release records that are better than the last, and in sophomore ‘Everything Dies’, Nervus have done just that.
Opener ‘Congratulations’ features an almost theatrical introduction for what is, in reality, a story in the form of a collection of songs. Em Foster‘s dark and somber sounding vocals shine over the top of a bleak piano, leading into an almost Alkaline Trio-esque crescendo.
‘Sick Sad World’ showcases the band’s pop tinged side with a chorus so huge that could challenge even the most accomplished of pop songwriters. The pop filled chorus is the offset by an almost gothic exterior to the verses.
Much of the record’s lyrics revolve around the ideology of identity and lead singer Em Foster‘s struggles with gender dysphoria, having recently come out as a non-binary trans woman. This forms a backbone for the record, and it has never been more prominent than in its stand out track, ‘Recycled Air’. It’s by far the most accessible and radio-friendly offering on the record and ends with a fantastically placed guitar solo reminiscent of early era Basement. Musically, it’s probably the most simple track on the record, but the lyrical genius of Foster makes the track stand out by a mile.
It’s perhaps apt to draw a comparison between Nervus and Against Me! given the fact that both bands have a connection of breaking down barriers and perceptions when it comes to music due to both Foster‘s and Laura Jane Grace‘s bravery to step out and make a statement regarding themselves and others. While Against Me! have had a career that has spanned genres, generations, political landscapes and more, Nervus could well be heading in that direction in their albums to come.
Nervus are a band who are set to take the world by storm, to be the face of the beginning of a new era, and spread a message of positivity and unification, all with Foster‘s sarcastic and sometimes ironically bleak lyrics at the forefront.
Written by Jacob Eynon (@deadpressjake)