Hot damn. Not to get bogged down in genre terminology, but when I tell people I like “noise rock,” I usually have something in mind that’s honestly pretty dramatic — my thinking is that if you’re going to “go there,” then, you know: do it. And when an artist plunges into the icy depths, that’s always exciting — and that’s exactly what the Kansas City group Nerver have done on their new record Cash, out this week.
Get a first listen to the album in full below! First, here’s a brief review:
The first track is like getting thrown headfirst, without almost any advance warning, into a raging river. There’s a portion towards the end where the music builds into an utterly rampaging torrent that sounds something like rushing through some abandoned house like a madman, smashing everything in sight and getting bloodier along the way — and spikes in tension only feed the beast. There’s not really a sense that what’s going on here is some kind of flash in the pan moment set to quickly conclude. Nope: it’s more like becoming awash with mania to the point that time loses its meaning or feels more like just another thing to lose hold of despite frantically searching for a place to stand.
And the band: wow. They sound like a bulldozer to the point that it’s surprising this isn’t the sound of more than just a normal-sized group. Everything sounds like it’s on fire: if you can imagine suddenly stumbling across a scene in which a flaming convertible is somehow speeding down a somewhat abandoned, somewhat trash-strewn street, then you’d likely be pretty close to what’s going on here. Familiar descriptions apply, centering on a key point: it’s fun, and it also reflects something freeing. It — at least to me — reflects an experience of life that’s actually like this, far from the sterile, glass-covered buildings in which those with interests in something inhuman might make their abode.
Although it’s what could be described as sludgy, it’s also electrifying. The energy stays pretty high, like — to paint a more expansive portrait — those flames have spread to a swamp. “Purgatory” has some comparatively quieter moments, but it’s not some kind of dramatic change. Rather, that sort of thing feels more like, maybe, a staggering drunkard than a lurching maniac. The rhythms vary in speed, but the tension remains — it’s like beating on the barren stone walls of some isolated enclave as those walls seem to — without outside influence — close in, and that extends to the point that the beating itself seems to carry meaning. And you can see that meaning in how rejuvenating and oddly life-affirming the music is: Cash is just instantly exciting.
So, Cash by Nerver is available on vinyl, CD, and cassette from The Ghost Is Clear Records and Knife Hits Records — a nicely expansive offering. (Not everything is available from both.) All three are available from The Ghost Is Clear, and the cassette is a collab with Knife Hits. Get vinyl and CDs from TGIC here and the cassettes from Knife Hits at this link.