In 2011, Nerves Junior released my second favorite album and followed it up with the most up and down year possible for a band. They darted about so much that they were ultimately responsible for both my favorite and my least favorite live shows of 2011. When Nerves Junior was locked in, they were better than anybody out there, but when things started to unravel... watch out. It came as little surprise then when the band showed up to the 2012 Forecastle Festival with only two original members and one new one. The three stood in front of a desk full of electronics filling out their thirty minute set with songs no one had heard before, and while much of it was good, the show felt like it might be the last breath of a once great band.
Then came Hopscotch Music Festival. I've never seen Nerves Junior play a stronger live show. With the additions of longtime friend of the band Brennon Staples and a spectacular drummer, Brey McCoy, Nerves Junior not only seemed to be back, but better than ever. The new songs carried the darkness of the old material, and Chris Snow's aggressively jagged guitar riffs were still present. New frontman Zack O'Renick's vocals carried a haunting emotion, and McCoy, the real standout, crafted percussion that was imaginative and heavy, drums that seemed to implement a jazz/avant garde mixture to the songs, elevating them beyond measure.
Yesterday, we got the first taste of this new direction, and I couldn't be more pleased as a fan of Nerves Junior. "Goodnight Nobody" explodes immediately, the track opening with a rattle and roar that says we're back and not wasting any time with reintroductions. O'Renick's vocals are smooth and shaky, conjuring up the same sorts of eerie emotions found on the previous Nerves Junior tracks. Once again, the drums on "Goodnight Nobody" are some of the most inventive I've heard in a while, with small cracks and echoing hits bouncing around, acting like a shifting foundation for the rest of the song.
With their debut, As Bright as Your Night Light, I couldn't help but marvel at how each note and layer of noise was placed perfectly, always keeping me on my toes. The swirling sounds coming at the listener smashed together to create an evil, yet emotive mood. Somehow, even with a total band shake-up, the addition of two new members, and a year to wallow in their misfortune, Nerves Junior have emerged with a track that shows great growth as both musicians and songwriters, marking the start of a strong comeback for one of the best bands we have today.
Release Date: Feb 12th, 2013
Label: SonaBlast! Records
2.15 - Zanzabar - Louisville, KY
3.6 - The Monkey Wrench - Louisville, KY
3.7 - Al's Bar - Lexington, KY
3.8 - Tidball's - Bowling Green, KY
3.12 - 3.17 - SXSW - Austin, TX