From the gang vocals, jangly guitars and infectious sense of hope of ‘Iconoclast’, Watford-based punks Nervus’ new album The Evil One (Get Better Records) gets under your skin. It is their fourth album and the pop, alternative and americana influences help to create an absorbing record.
None of the tracks here outstay their welcome, they are short, sharp and well crafted, with the pop moments on the album joyous examples of this. The ridiculously catchy ray of sunshine ‘Rental Song’ is one such instance, its XTC-like jauntiness covering up its exploration of our debt obsessed society. The delightful ‘Jellyfish’ has a similar spring to its step, it is a perfectly wrapped bundle of pop whose jangly guitars and nonchalantly hummable hooks will worm its way into your head. They marry pop sensibilities to rock in ‘Drop Out’, a taut bundle of raucous riffs and university angst.
Near enough in the middle of the album is ‘I Wish I Was Dead’ – inspired by a Stewart Lee joke about Bill Hicks – a nice, americana style palette cleanser in between the more amped up moments. One such moment being the Royal Thunder like ‘Rotting Mass’, a track about colonialism and the never ending march of life with a restrained but building sense of rage; another is the short blast of indie rock ‘From Dirt’ that is over in a flash – 2 minutes 24 seconds to be precise. The wonderfully named, countrified rock ‘Absolute Yuck’ ends the album on a relaxing americana note.
The Evil One is a balanced record full of tight and well crafted songs.
8 / 10