by Tim Birkbeck
It isn’t often that a band changes many people’s perceptions and approaches to alternative music. But this is what Watford-quintet Nervus did with their debut record, Permanent Rainbow in 2016.
So how do the band top such a ground-breaking record? Simply come out with an absolutely stellar second album. This time around, however, Nervus are slightly more aggressive and most certainly more direct.
With the words of vocalist Em Foster, who came out as a non-binary trans woman, acting as the backbone of the record, Everything Dies delivers a real gut punch, but with a tender touch.
Even though there is so much to be said for Foster’s lyrics and vocals, there are some real solid grooves throughout the record. The delicate twinkle of ‘Recycled Air’ is nicely complimented by the straight up rock riff in ‘Sick Sad World’.
Lyrically, it may seem like Foster has a pessimistic tone, with the odd “woah” thrown in for good measure, but the subject matter of which she is speaking is not sugar-coated and her observations are transparent and upfront.
But for all its strengths there are down points to the record. Mainly that some of the records strongest songs, namely ‘It Follows’ and ‘The Way Back’, have been out for a while now that some of the other tracks fall a bit flat in comparison.
Having said that, there is a simplicity to some of what the band produce, and it’s that formula which seems to work for the four-piece. It’s the simplicity which gives Nervus’ music a sense of vulnerability, and that is an element which people are sure to hook on to and connect with.
Fosters vocals may be the driving force behind the band and take up the majority of the lime light, but when you have such a prominent and important message to share you can get away with it.
Everything Dies is out on March 9th via Big Scary Monsters.