A surprisingly difficult question to find the answer to in any of their promotional material, but Nervous Twitch appear to be guitarist and main songwriter Jay Churchley, drummer Ashley Goodall and vocals, bass, keyboards and excellent wigs from Erin Rumble. Plus at various times another guitarist, who seems to change depending on what picture we’re looking at.
Nervous Twitch deal in a classic, slightly retro sound, but that is not to say it’s a mere parody. They borrow from a variety of influences, from punk, through surf, garage and classic rock’n’roll. They remind us a bit of a British take on Quentin Tarantino soundtracks when he uses Japanese bands doing their take on American-garage bands; a walking advert for globalisation if ever we’ve seen one.
Nervous Twitch are from the North’s premiere musical city, Leeds. With a population of nearly 800,000, Leeds is the third biggest city in the country, and is West Yorkshire’s financial, cultural and commercial heartland. Leeds built up around the River Aire which flows through the city, and takes it’s name from the Brythonic word Ladenses meaning “people of the fast-flowing river.” Despite what some (generally Southern folk) would have you believe, Leeds has a diverse economy, no longer based largely around heavy industry but in the service and financial markets. Leeds has become a major player in the current musical landscape, due at least in part to a large student population, based mainly around the LS6 area, home to the legendary Brudenell Social Club. Famous bands from Leeds include Chumbawamba, Kaiser Chiefs and Mel B, but it’s not all bad news they’ve also given the world Hookworms, Gang Of Four and I Like Trains.
Nervous Twitch have been sharing music with the world since around 2011. Since then they’ve released a set of EPs and singles, with some self-releases and some team ups including Punk Fox. Their debut LP, Get Back In Line, came out on cassette via OddBox in early 2015, with a re-release planned for later this year via Swiss label Middle Ear. They released their second album, Don’t Take My TV, earlier this year, and after selling out the cassette version have teamed up with Odd Box Records for a vinyl release.
We first caught Nervous Twitch opening up this year’s Indietracks and they were superb, glossy, glamorous and an enjoyable level of kitsch. Thankfully listening to their latest album, Don’t Take My TV, the recorded version hasn’t done much to change that opinion. It’s a record that shy’s away from much in the way of studio trickery, sounding pretty much as raw, and exciting as the live show.
Nervous Twitch’s sound is a fusion of punk’s grit, with a slice of glam-tinged, bubblegum pop; take opening track So Rock’n’Roll, as it mocks the classic testosterone fuelled know it all rock fan, it’s effortlessly fuses the raw, raggedness of The Sex Pistols with the knowing wink of The Ronettes or The 188.8.131.52.’s. It’s a trick they repeat throughout the album, although there are enough subtle shifts to keep it from becoming too predictable.
There are plenty of highlights; the surfy-instrumental of East Coast Rumble induces hip-twisting dance moves from even our reluctant feet, the self-deprecating I’m An Idiot Babe adds a sludgy Stooges-quality to proceedings, and I’m Sorry That I Made You Cry sounds like a punk band covering The Everly Brothers, which is obviously great.
There’s also a few moments where they shift into intriguing new directions: John Power is a lyrical character study of a spoilt, self-important brat, that blends Dr Feelgood with a good slice of new-wave period Blondie; the simplistic but effective synths on Something Wrong With Me adds a touch of T-Rex glam-stomp, while Even Though I Have Regrets is the sort of acoustic interlude The Rolling Stones were so good at, and showcases that Erin can put her vocal chords to more than the yelping, stylised insinuations on display elsewhere.
Don’t Take My TV is unquestionably a bit rough around the edges in terms of production, and there’s a question of how many truly new ideas are on display. That said it is about as fun as any record we’ve heard this year, and a very promising introduction to a band on the up.
Don’t Take My TV is available now via OddBox Records. Click HERE for all upcoming Nervous Twitch live dates.