Bad Nerves, Bad Nerves
How do you justice to a record that leaves you as chewed up and spat out as Bad Nerves’ huge self-titled debut? How do you sum up an album that blitzes by in 25 minutes (even though you wish it would last a bit longer) and leaves you as out of breath just from listening as if you’d been throwing yourself around at a show? Bad Nerves have created a monster of blink and you’ll miss it punk-pop and we’re just revelling in it.
Not a single track clocks in at above three minutes – Bad Nerves are fast, furious and laughing in your face as you try to keep up. They set the pace with an onslaught of explosive singles, and it’s no shock that the record is just as relentless. From Baby Drummer to latest cut New Shapes, Bad Nerves provided us with a whistle-stop tour of everything their debut offers: hooks, riffs, energy. It’s pretty much all chorus, and Bad Nerves don’t leave any room for faffing about. The fuzzy moment at the start of opener raucous opener Can’t Be Mine is about the biggest pause you get the whole way through, but it’s not like you’d want to take a break anyway.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Bad Nerves is only on one level. Yes, they always sound fierce, but there’s plenty of room to sprinkle in some moody moments, a hint of anger here, a touch of melancholy there. Wasted Days is the album’s resident Taylor Swift homage (by that, we just mean it’s a breakup song and bears no other resemblance to Taylor Swift whatsoever. Though to be fair, if Taylor Swift wanted to take notes we’d definitely be behind that), and it still manages to channel itself into an irresistible eruption of catharsis. Last Beat is another slice of hissing savagery, but that classic Bad Nerves feel still tears through it like a tornado.
They tap into the pop half of their power-pop self-definition to ensure that there’s an unfaltering infectiousness pumping through the record’s veins, and smashed together with the neverending melee of punk noise, it’s pure addictive. The music might be cut-and-run bangers, but Bad Nerves share the philosophical edge with many of their classic counterparts. All the big questions get tackled: “where should I be, should I be doing this, am I doing the right thing, what do I have to do to be happy…” – howling into the void begging for answers has never felt better than it does on Bad Nerves.
Of course, Bad Nerves breezes into our ears with a unique 2020 pain – we NEED to hear this live. The freneticism of the guitar, Bobby Nerves’ effortlessly excitable vocals – we can practically feel the careening euphoria. Bad Nerves’ magic is how cutting-edge classic they sound, so a Bad Nerves gig is guaranteed feel like the freshest birth-of-punk show you can imagine, and it’s a blurry, beer-fuelled dream. It’s messy, blissful, and electrifying, just like Bad Nerves’ debut. Now we’d like another one, please!
Bad Nerves is out this Friday, November 20th.