Erik Nervous: Immaturity [Album Review]

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Erik Nervous
FatCat/Feel It Records [2023]

Erik Nervous, also known as Erik Hart to those who know him well, has consistently released at least one EP per year since 2015. In addition to his solo work, Erik collaborates with friends in the band Beta Blockers, and he has been a synth player for The Spits since 2021. Notably, he is regarded as one of the leading punk recording engineers in the Midwest. Immaturity marks Erik Nervous’s return as a solo artist.

Most of Immaturity was written and recorded in the basement of Erik’s rural northeastern Indiana home, the very house where he has lived his entire life. The album’s title, Immaturity, aptly reflects Erik’s steadfast refusal to embrace adulthood, evident in the album’s DIY ethos, carefree delivery, and stylish mood swings. While listening to Immaturity, you can distinctly hear Erik’s influences, including Devo, The Fall, and Gang Of Four. The album features 12 songs that offer a blend of bouncy garage post-punk and feverish pop new wave.

If this is your first introduction to Erik Nervous, you don’t need to look any further than the opening track, “Ninth,” to get a good sense of what Immaturity has to offer. It’s a pogo-style rock that intensifies with a surge in guitar energy as the track progresses, featuring Erik’s somewhat fuzzed vocals, which add an edgy quality to the project. “Ankle Deep” kicks off with a heavy guitar assault that gradually builds into a gorgeous wall of sound as the song unfolds over its three minutes, carrying a punk attitude. “Drop Dead” takes a more Devo-inspired synth approach, featuring a foot-tapping riff that leads to an eruption of more guitars in the chorus while you also shouldn’t miss an album highlight with his punk ripping punk cover of They Might Be Giants “(She Was A) Hotel Detective.”

Erik Nervous could have easily confined this album to a single punk rock genre across all 12 tracks, but Immaturity distinguishes itself by exploring a range of musical styles. Tracks like the instrumental “Pretentious Instrumental Break,” the spacey “Heemgeh,” the Cars-like “Comfortable,” and the closing 6-minute multi-stylistic rocker “Bottle vs. Record” all highlight the broader creative vision behind this project. Erik Nervous offers a delightful and laid-back indie rock journey with Immaturity, and the album only improves with each listen.

“Ninth” / “Innanet” / “(She Was A) Hotel Detective”

Wavves / Alien Nosejob / Osees

Instagram | Bandcamp | FatCat Records | Feel It Records

Christopher Anthony
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