Nervus are a truly exciting prospect in British rock music. Their 2016 debut, Permanent Rainbow, was a dark, brooding work, wrapped in shimmering melodies and instant hooks. After closing out last year on a run with fast-rising goth punks Creeper, the band set their sights on their second effort.
It comes in the form of Everything Dies. What is instantly noticeable is how much better the band sounds on this album. The production is cleaner and glossier, which lends itself perfectly to the direction the band have taken. Let’s not beat about the bush here: Everything Dies is a truly brilliant record. It does everything a second album should do, i.e. take the best elements of the debut and expand upon them. The first track, ‘Congratulations,’ is a perfect album opener, building from a sparse, piano-led intro into a rousing anthem. Even the somewhat jarring, angular nature of the chorus doesn’t stop the hook burying itself in your brain after the first listen. The following tracks, ‘Nobody Loses All The Time’ and first single ‘Sick, Sad World’ are almost pop-punk like in nature, while ‘Recycled Air’ is a much more laid back affair.
The twists and turns that are prevalent throughout Everything Dies makes it impossible to tie Nervus down to one genre. The album can go from a song like ‘It Follows’, which is pure punk rock to a track like ‘Medicine’, which contains elements of shoegaze and the slower, trippier side of Nirvana. The addition of piano into the band’s line-up adds an entirely new dimension to the band’s sound, blending in perfectly with whatever direction the track goes in.
Similar praise must be directed to the lyrics on Everything Dies. Vocalist/guitarist Em Foster’s lyrics are witty, socially conscious and, at points, truly emotional. To draw the laziest of comparisons, Em effectively channels the Matt Skiba style that was prevalent on the first few Alkaline Trio albums – “I might be on my back/At least I’m looking up” is a personal highlight.
Overall, there is not a wasted second on Everything Dies. Nervus are destined to become one of the biggest bands in Britain, a accolade of which they are thoroughly deserving.
By Fraser Bryce