The Nervous Return - The Sex..The Drugs...The Nervous Return (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Nervous Return

The Sex..The Drugs...The Nervous Return (2005)


They're baaaaaack. Oh, don't care? Yeah, me neither. That's as much sentiment as you'll gather out of me regarding the Nervous Return's newest EP, The Sex..The Drugs...The Nervous Return. Their last full-length was enjoyable, but if there's one thing it didn't do, it's leave me pining for more. Their brand of new wave-inspired punk rock was decent, albeit a bit tiresome in spots, but I approached this newest effort with an open mind, hoping they made some of the minor changes necessary for their output to be something special.

Well, that's not quite how things panned out. Not right away, anyhow. There's just no way to accurately convey how obnoxious the siren-like, repetitious guitar wailing that takes over most of the song is. It's a downtempo track, with some lazy drumming and slinky bass lines, but it's just too difficult to avoid the headache that comes from hearing that distorted wailing over, and over, and over again some more after you're ready to take the CD out of whatever it's playing in and break it into thousands of pieces. Thankfully, things do get better, albeit not a lot.

The other four songs on the album mark a departure from previous efforts, as a lot of the flashy new wave elements the band brought to their punk style are gone, and what remains isn't even so much a punk record as just rock‘n'roll. But in their case, that's not a bad place to be. The rhythms rock back and forth, the drumming is really spot on, and the vocalist exudes the same arrogant swagger that their last record established. At least in these songs, a little arrogance never hurt anyone, as it gives the sharply delivered vocals some real presence over the ever increasing volume of the guitars. "Flip a Bitch" pulls no punches in its objective, which is to be loud, brash, and directly to the point. The bass drives things during the chorus while the guitars quietly churn, only for everything to come back in during the chorus. That chorus can grow to be somewhat tiring, but the guitars at the end really cut loose and give the track the replay value that it desperately required.

The Nervous Return made some changes here and there, tweaked some things, and still manage to rock a good deal. An enjoyable effort, but one that would have been that much more so if the awful first song never saw the light of day.