Especially over the past fifteen years, The Nerves’ 7” has become more and more recognized as a mythical Ebay artifact/holy grail of late ‘70s (‘76-’79) L.A. power pop. And for good reason. In the years between then and now, everyone from Blondie to the Exploding Hearts have found much to admire from what Peter Case (who would go on to form the Plimsouls and re-record versions of these songs), Paul Collins (The Paul Collins Beat), and Jack Lee created over a four-year stint. I don’t know if I’ve ever said this about a band, but The Nerves make delicious songs, especially the studio tracks. They’re fun, yet substantive, infinitely listenable, crafted immaculately, and just cool to listen to. They’ve got an inimitable style about them and they make the listener feel good. (They remind me of a band like The Saints, who, for some reason got largely overlooked when they were active, but you can’t second guess their early catalog.) But to merely pigeonhole The Nerves into power pop requires either an expansion or reconsideration of its current definition. More likely, The Nerves are much more than “just a power pop band,” as evidenced by the variation on their approach to music on this record: acoustic guitar-driven songs; songs with Beatles and Buddy Holly sinew; and muscled and lean ballads fill out the grooves next to their best-known raveup, “Hanging on the Telephone.” The a-side has nine studio recordings. It’s the gold. The b-side is nine live and demo tracks (like how the Dils record was released). It’s the gravy. Thirty years after its initial release, revel in the first-ever non-bootleg LP of The Nerves. It’s safe to say that the band finally got the release their status and reputation deserves… and at an attractive price non-collectors are able to afford. Great stuff.
–todd (Alive, aliveenergy.com)