Around eighteen months ago 3 Songs & Out gave me the opportunity to review Nervus’ 2018 album ‘Everything Dies’ and I found it to be a great album and I still listen to it now. The band is about to release their third album ‘Tough Crowd’, due to smash its way into the world on September 27th courtesy of Big Scary Monsters Records. It was recorded at the Ranch in Southampton and produced by Neil Kennedy Is it as good as their last album? No, it’s not, it is even better! There is social and political commentary, notably on the hook-laden slower tune “They Don’t”. There is perhaps slightly less anger in this album than in its predecessor, but it is still there and handled with great control which gives it so much more impact. The songs tackle subjects that really need to be addressed and confronted; austerity, fascism and the ecology to name just a few. This is most notable in “Piss”, which might well be about right-wing arseholes. There are some wonderful melodies, riffs, and hooks on show throughout ‘Tough Crowd’ and these often generate a feeling of hope set against the at times very dark lyrics. My favourite couplet is probably “you blame the hangman, but you’re holding the noose” from “Engulf You”. The chorus of “Fake” has Em singing “I Don’t Wanna Be Fake” in perhaps her best vocal performance on this record. I think it is clear from this LP and their previous releases that whatever you might see Nervus as they are never fake. This is a band that is not afraid to confront haters, homophobes, nazi wankers, self-centered, lying politicians and anyone else that deserves to be challenged and taken down. Nervus don’t just play to punk ideals, they live by them. Punk happened to allow newer bands to continue to fly the flag for the downtrodden and the oppressed. I am glad I am on the same side as Nervus!
The first single “Flies” deserves a much wider audience and contains an array of angry, venomous lyrics which I assume are about a soured relationship. “You’re Dead, at least you are in my head”, tells me that I definitely would not like to get on the wrong side of Nervus! “No Nations” is a song of hope for the planet and never giving up, whatever the obstacle. Not a bad mantra to live by in my opinion. For me, the most inspiring song on the album is “Burn”. This is what humanity should be about; listening more than speaking, sharing and “We don’t need heroes, we need faith” sums this song up perfectly and encapsulates all of its acoustic beauty and passion. The harmonies on this song are immaculate. This is a song that would not be out of place in the Levellers canon. I was reminded of Weezer back in their prime in the style and delivery of “Inconvenient Truth” although clearly, the lyrics are most definitely Nervus. Overall ‘Tough Crowd’ is the bands most accomplished album to date and on this evidence, this is a band that will just keep on improving. I am sure that Em, Paul, Kenny, and Luce are proud of this staggeringly good collection of songs and so they should be. As a footnote, I love interacting with Nervus on social media, particularly Twitter. They are eloquent, spunky, passionate and sometimes laugh out loud funny! Give this album one listen and if you feel that you don’t need it in your life after that then you probably need to have your musical taste examined!
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