NervEndings For The People

More clout than Ocean Colour Scene I’d expected after hearing frontman Mike Barham’s prior thrashing solo releases and drummer Luke Bartels previous band, but more roaring blues than Reef was an angle I didn’t see coming when I first checked our local purveyors of loud, NervEndings.

We’re countless gigs in now, the band, with bassist and secondary vocalist Rob McKelvey, still tight and raucous. I’m glad there’s a six-track album doing the rounds on the streaming sites, as by way of a meanderingly drunken tête-à-tête with Luke down the Gate, an album in the pipeline was one of the random topics breezed over, but so was the debatable aggression levels between Welsh and English badgers too, so I only held hope it’d see the light!

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“For The People”they’re calling it, then, out last week. It’s got the kick I now predicted, with that surprising blues element to boot, particularly in the opening track, Infectious Groove. Yet the Muddy Puddles single we’ve reviewed in the past follows, and sets the ball really rolling; it takes no prisoners, yet, for its catchiness, contains a slither of something very sixties; imagine pre-Zeppelin metal.

Emo, to audaciously use an unfamiliar genre, I’d best describe Colour Blind; smoother, drifting indie rock. And in that, Fighting Medicine is more as I’d supposed, guitar riff rocking like a driving song and Mike’s brainy lyrics, with added profanity to describe the drunken hooligan spoiling for a rumble. You know the bloke, there’s always one.

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With themes of non-pretentious indie, Chin up continues this ethos, forget the attempts to conform to expectances, it’s a be-yourself song. Best, in my humble opinion, though, is Dark Dance; as it says on the tin, teetering on crashing punk, it’s upbeat and danceable, in a throwing-your-head mosh-pit kind of way, which isn’t my way, usually, but it reaches a bridge of mellow romance-themed splendour. Here’s Jimi Hendrix covering Blur’s Song Two, as the blues is retained in all these contemporary rock tunes, and for a dude indifferent to the cliché indie sound, it works on my level too.

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Nicely done, and, double-whammy, Mike has forced upon me this streaming inclination which defies all my generation stood for when collecting music. Our parents called us by name when shouting up the stairs to turn the music down, not “Alexa!” Ah, it needed to be done and I’m grateful, in a sense. “Send me a download or something,” I pleaded, “I don’t understand this Spotty-Fly thing!” But it only met with the reply, “it’s on all the streaming sites….” I’m of the generation who tried to turn over the first CD they got, to listen to the B-side, and only just got the hang of downloading. Now I’m causally informed downloading’s sooo millennial.

I dunno, all moving too fast it; seems so unphysical, not to have a record collection, rather a playlist. You can’t skin up on a Deezer playlist. At least downloading had a file, nearer, somewhat, to owning a record. But I’ve persevered and found the Spotify app on my PC more user friendly; I didn’t harass my daughter for assistance once, as I regularly do with the phone.

So, cheers, Mike. Hopefully this will help me surpass the “noob” label my son has tied to me, which, I’m told is a word for both a novice and an insult in one. Honestly, I feel like my grandad, who, when he came over once, stood staring at our new LCD television and asked, “where’s your tele?!” For the People needs to include the older people too, as I reckon many would either love it, or give this trio a ruddy good clip around the ear, which is maybe what they deserve for being so damn good; they’d have me talking emoji next.


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Nerve Endings Love Muddy Puddles!

Local indie-rock outfit, Nerve Endings have a debut single, out last week…..

At the distal end of every axon lies the conclusion to a nerve. They message sensory neurons, bleating “you’re hot,” “or cold,” or “oi, that hurts!” Around these waters a personification are the nociceptors of noise, chiefly guitarist and lead vocalist Mike Barham, bassist and vocalist Rob McKelvey and drummer boy, Luke Bartels, and their stimuli definitely sends threat signals on the ears, in a premium possible manner.

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When they step on stage expect a little horseplay, then an explosive set of twisted blues riffs combining the elements of all contemporary alternative and indie rock subgenres. It leaves one intrigued by the news, which was drunkenly fed to me one summer’s evening at the Southgate, what will become of the progression towards recording the sound; we now have confirmation. Muddy Puddles is a Peppa Pig free song, which howls all that’s prodigious about Nerve Endings; unless Peppa is one who wears her heart on her sleeve.

Players, I shit them. Relationship annoyance by those who view romance as a sport, if being an archetypical subject, this alarm-ringing debut single of thrashing guitar riffs, with howling vocals that meet a near-sixties blues melody composes it with freshness. And as the gritty theme takes no prisoners, wailing “you won’t change, get your head out your arse and you might see,” analogous of actual nerve endings, sending a powerful warning to those who dig the dagger deeper into their victim’s heart. The result is boundless energy I might’ve expected, but executed professionally and agreeably adroit; great start to the year, guys!

See, I once pondered if the rave era ended youth culture as without conviction, I couldn’t assess any post-genre apt for the idiom. Perhaps the most stimulating conversation I’ve had with Mr Mike Barham, over a decade my junior, was at a Saddleback Festival, where he proclaimed grunge and emo proceeded my era. I was saturated in the fact younger people considered them youth cultures, concluding just like the teddy boys, punks and skinheads before me, my epoch was blindly trapped in the renaissance of a particular era.

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For the record I wouldn’t change it for the world, we partied harder, faster and longer than any predecessor, and I’d like to wager more than any “emo,” whatever that was, had to Google! Yet his statement not only aided new exploration in me, but a liking for this gentle giant who explodes with passion and fiery temperament when on stage. A specific style of the genre, that much I am aware. I know who Kurt Cobain was pal, blanketed by an era maybe, but not living on the moon; just a few miles closer to Earth.

My eclectic taste was never faulted by the overindulgence of the youth culture which engulfed me for a period, and I emerge open-minded and prepared to accept anything. Intrigue took me to a Bowling For Soup gig at Bristol’s O2, that and my son’s need of a lift. Yet if I felt out of place, searching for another sober, taxi-driving Dad as youths collapsed in the heat and the frontman made stagediving a cliché, I still enjoyed it. As is Nerve Endings, I’m not dying my hair black with a neon streak, neither are they, but this rocks with competence, appetite and enjoyability.

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Here’s the spotty-fly link, I know my system needs updating, here’s one if you’ve an apple; but Mike, thanks to my son’s Christmas present I now know where Bowser’s Castle is, and I like it; getting there, I just take the long way around!


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