TITLE: TOUGH CROWD
LABEL: BIG SCARY MONSTERS
WORDS: JO COSGROVE
There’s a reason it’s called, ‘Tough Crowd‘ – it’ll be hard to crack a joke with this record. Power-pop group Nervus have never taken their musical platform for granted. They’ve used their collective talents to make some strong, eye-opening tracks about life, identity and the world – their debut album, ‘Permanent Rainbow‘ focused on member Em Foster’s views on gender and her own experiences with gender dysphoria. As they worked harder, became bigger, they never lost their determination or their moral stance. They just stood still, stood strong, and never stopped believing in a better world.
The one standout track of the record is ‘No Nations’. Let’s cut to the chase: this is a record to inspire humanity and bring on the fight for what’s right. Using a catchy, jumping sound to tell a story of hope and fighting on, it’s not a new strategy in alternative genres. But it can work and when it works, it works well. Using such a platform to speak out and normalise discussing world issues and politics, Nervus know it’s never to be left out of music because music is that medium to get out thoughts and opinions. Speaking out one’s mind, to a good rhythm with a memorable beat.
“A call for unity and justice, equality and improvement”
Another high-energy anthem is ‘Fake’. Nothing too in-depth or complex about this one; it’s a two-minute venture of the fragment, “I don’t wanna be”, matching to different words and endings. “I don’t wanna be fake” one moment, “I don’t wanna be late” another, and it sticks up the middle finger to conforming and changing for the immoral majority in life. To the authority that always believe to know what’s right and what’s best, without hearing anyone out when they shout their objections. It’s anarchic, exciting, and unforgettable – because the band won’t let you forget it.
If there’s one lyric to take away from this entire record, it should be, “We don’t need heroes, we need faith”. Nearing the end is ‘Burn’, a peaceful protest of a tune. A call for unity and justice, equality and improvement. Fixing the world around each other. It’s the most lyrically fascinating track, and that one that’ll stick in your head not because it’s catchy or its repetition, but because of its impact on the heart and in the mind. A more stripped down song, it acts as an anthemic chant as the stanzas are repeated and every line is sung by each member of the band in this beautiful harmony. A vocal representation of coming together and working as one, and how community makes everything stronger and makes everything better.
“Nervus are here to fight, and don’t give a fuck”
When a record provokes thought in such deep complex ways, it will excite the activist in the listener. Everyone has that activist inside their soul: someone who will fight to no end for what they believe in with others who share this belief. The song structures don’t have to be special, brand new, never before created – a near impossible task at this point in the industry – but it has to have that power. That impact. Like a meteor to the planet, it needs to bring on a new age in one’s soul where they can take the information in, think about their own views and feelings, and make their own decisions.
Nervus are here to fight, and don’t give a fuck. Always a winning combo.