Nerves singer Rob Datum's voice is a curious mix of Pere Ubu frontman David Thomas 'vocal contortions and Minutemen singer/guitarist D. Boon's jittery yelps. In fact, his verbal shimmies are so captivating that the music behind him rarely registers, which isn't altogether bad, as his guitar, Seth Skundrick's bass and Elliot Dicks 'stripped drum kit rarely escape the power-R&B orbit of the Stooges and the MC5. Still, rock history brims with far less desirable ruts, and this Chicago trio takes comfort in returning to an age when no one thought to associate the word "jeans" with the phrase "too tight." Album opener "Show Your Love" presents the Nerves 'musical worldview succinctly: one crunchy guitar riff, one soft organ counterpoint, liberal hand claps and one snotty vocal line and voila! The band's self-titled debut rarely strays from that format, but when their heroes were guilty of the same tunnel vision, it's difficult to find much fault. Later Chicago outfit the Ponys would better the Nerves 'retro-punk, but this debut remains a must for fans of the sound.
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