Having meticulously studied the structures of Tory Britain, Nervus want to burn them down and start again. Since their initial emergence in 2016, they’ve passionately yet eloquently taken aim at everything from transphobia to police brutality to gentrification. For album four, however, they’ve subtly refined their approach. They’ve not lost any of their fire, but they’re wielding it differently, with more grace and more nuance. Though the customary advice is usually ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, shifting gears in this way has made for some of their best songwriting to date.
It begins beautifully. Iconoclast looks up at the sky with rousing gang vocals, jittering drums and more hope than this band has perhaps ever professed on record before – 'Cuffs won’t stop our tears or our laughter / Truncheons won’t stop people from healing,' singer/guitarist Em Foster declares. Get Equal Get Even is an equally strong follow-up, neatly balancing environmental concerns with musings on mortality over crunchy (and periodically shoegazey) guitar, and the theme is continued through the jaunty, melodic Rotting Mass, which shines brightest when Em and bassist Lucinda Livingstone join forces for a gorgeously determined dual vocal attack in its bridge.