Nervus have never shied away from exploring complex issues within their unique breed of alt-punk music. Themes of gender dysphoria, identity and queerness ran rife through first record ‘Permanent Rainbow’, a record written in the bedroom of lead vocalist Em Foster and serving as a personal catharsis for her. Follow up Everything Dies touched on the human impact on the environment, a colossal subject that the band have since delved into even deeper on brand new album Tough Crowd, out 27th September on Big Scary Monsters.
Where Everything Dies scraped the surface, Tough Crowd hits the nerve of it, seeking to expose the devastation that humanity is wreaking on the planet, both environmentally and socially. Lyrically, the record tackles fascism, austerity and the authorities, whilst at the same time touching on personal matters such as depression and disillusionment, both as a result of these things and in isolation to them. ‘I think about you from time to time / But this medication won’t let me cry’ sings Em Foster on anthemic lead single ‘Flies’; “a song about how people you look up to can let you down” she says. “It’s probably the angriest song on the album but is also meant to feel joyful in an “ahhh fuck it” kinda way.”
Having spent ten days together as a band at The Ranch in Southampton, steered by Neil Kennedy (Milk Teeth, Creeper), Nervus stepped away from their go-to self-produced bedroom recording style, and came into their own, together. As a result, Tough Crowd is their most ferocious yet joyful offering to date; as biting as it is inviting.
But while politics and destruction are at the forefront, ‘Tough Crowd’ is also an album full of hope. Em muses: “I want people to feel joyful but I also want people to feel angry. I want people to stop underestimating their ability to effect change.”
She continues; “‘Tough Crowd’ is very much focused on the here and now and the situations we find ourselves in with austerity, the rise of fascism in Europe and the increasing divisions and tensions in society that those cause.”
Since Everything Dies the Watford indie-punks have spent their time touring the UK and Europe with Worriers, Anti Flag, Koji, Fresh and labelmates Cultdreams. Further dates are being scheduled in support of Tough Crowd.