TITLE: EVERYTHING DIES
LABEL: BIG SCARY MONSTERS
Following on from their debut Permanent Rainbow in 2016, Watford’s own Nervus are now gracing us with their sophomore record Everything Dies. What started out as Em Foster’s DIY bedroom project has seemingly touched a nerve (see what we did there) with the alternative listening public; supply and demand for their music rapidly growing.
“THIS RECORD LOOKS AT THE IMPORTANT ISSUES SURROUNDING ALL OF US…”
Despite their increased following, the band are still sticking to their roots, with every instrument aside from the drums recorded in Em’s bedroom. It’s rare to get such an admirable commitment to DIY these days, especially from a signed band, and it certainly hasn’t diminished the quality of sound. Wonderfully produced and professionally mastered by Em and Bob Cooper at Crooked Rain Studios in Leeds, the album sounds slick and neat, but with that vibrant energy and excitement of a home recording.
In many ways, Everything Dies is not just the follow up to Permanent Rainbow sequentially, but thematically too. Whereas the first album was self-referential and self-analytical, this one looks at the issues of those around us – friends, family, peers, society, and how the impressions and opinions of others impact our views of ourselves. It expands and broadens on the themes of gender dysphoria, addiction and mental health laid out in Permanent Rainbow to great effect, and will feel like a natural Part II to those who delved deep into the lyrical content of Nervus’ debut.
“EVEN THE THEME OF DEATH HAS A POSITIVE SPIN TO IT…”
The album itself even has a loose structure, with the tracks divided into three eras or acts: birth, life, death; and while this all sounds rather heavy, it’s not as serious and depressing as it might seem. There’s a definite vibe of hope and optimism within the songs; that no matter what life throws at us, we can overcome it and see light at the end of the tunnel. Many of the tracks are happy sounding, bouncy and cheerful, such as ‘Nobody Loses’, with its bopping bass line and piano hook; the kind of song you’d spin on a summer’s day and containing the important reminder that “nobody loses all the time”. Then there’s album opener ‘Congratulations’, which invites the listener to “give up and let them hate the real you”, acknowledging that you can’t please everyone all the time, however upsetting that may be sometimes. Even ‘Hold Tight’, an uplifting power ballad style story of death, seems to have a positive spin, with its thumping relentless snare, swirling experimental noise, satisfying chord changes and an insidious chorus that stays with you.
‘Sick Sad World’ is a real highlight, with its beautiful chord structure and swirling melodies, it’s easy to see why it was chosen as a single. It deals with the subject of “getting lost in someone else’s life”, a theme explored again on ‘Recycled Air’ – “I know her name and I know her face and she is dying to get out of me.” The great thing about these songs is they don’t have to be simply categorised as Em’s story; they can easily be applied to anyone who feels they have another side or aspect to their personality they need to let out and explore, anyone who feels trapped or afraid to show all of themselves.
“they’re trying to make people thing, and they’re definitely achieving that aim.”
There’s clearly much to unpack on this album, and Nervus aren’t just your average alt-rock or pop punk band making awesome catchy songs (although they do). They’re also trying to make people think, and with this second and most worthy edition to their catalogue, they’re definitely going some way to achieving that aim. You can catch the band on tour with Milk Teeth round the UK this month.
WORDS: BEC SIMPSON
EVERYTHING DIES IS OUT FRIDAY 9TH MARCH VIA BIG SCARY MONSTERS