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Nervus Rex - 1980 Nervus Rex



ARTIST: Nervus Rex
ALBUM: Nervus Rex
LABEL: Dreamland
SERIAL: DL-1-5002
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 2004, self released * 2009, Renaissance (USA), RMED-292

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Shaun Brighton - lead vocals, guitars * Lauren Agnelli - guitars, keyboards, vocals * Dianne Athey - bass * Jonathan Lee Gildersleeve - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 There She Goes * 02 Go Go Girl * 03 Spies * 04 Real Life * 05 Start From The Start * 06 The God Sheila * 07 Don't Look * 08 The Incredible Crawling Eye * 09 Nobody Told Me * 10 Venus


Background
Nervus Rex came out of the late 70's New York scene. You know, the one that spawned CBGB's and claimed The Ramones were the greatest rock band on earth which apparently is still the PC line coming out of the elite rock press who love to revise history and wax nostalgic over Patti Smith and Talking Heads. No thanks. I lived in New York during that period, was buying records, listening to the radio and never once understood what the fuss was all about. Having never owned a Ramones album, I can tell you that there were other New York groups of interest including a large power pop contingent which is where Nervus Rex and their only album fit nicely. Formed by 'Creem' magazine journalist Lauren Agnelli, the group released a single 'Don't Look' in 1978. Building a large club following in the big apple, Nervus Rex was signed to Dreamland Records (Spider, Shandi) by producer and label head Michael Chapman.


The Songs
From what I understand Chapman 'softened up' the Nervus Rex sound, steering them away from their more aggressive punk sound into a pop model that would actually sell records. Supposedly after hearing the final result, their New York peers turned their backs on the band and this album flopped not only in their hometown, but everywhere else as well. Listening to the record now, it's hard to understand why it didn't latch on to play lists. I hear a lot of early Blondie which is to expected considering Chapman' s involvement with that band, but also The B-52's and a lot of 60's styled pop. Chock fill of good songs with new wave period charm, resistance is useless when it comes to cuts like 'There She Goes', 'Go Go Girl' and 'The God Shelia'. Even their cover of Shocking Blue's 'Venus' is classic complete with what sounds like a Farsifa organ conjuring up images of go-go boots and mini-skirts. Yeah!


In Summary
Sometime in the early 80's Nervus Rex called it a day, but their album has become a cult item over the years among power pop fans and the group reissued the record on CD in 2004 without 'Venus' due to publishing issues. Long out of print I've never seen a copy myself, so I'll just have to hold on to my LP a bit longer until another reissue label steps up.


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