THE NERVES - One Way Ticket

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The Nerves were Peter Case, Paul Collins, & Jack Lee, later to split up & be part of, at various times, the Plimsouls, the Breakaways, & The Paul Collins Beat. It's hard to believe that the Nerves never made it big. Their timing (1976-78) coincided with the advent of new wave & power pop, & the songs were good---in fact, Paul Collins would go on to record many of these, including three on the seminal The Beat album.

The Nerves never had a proper album. This compilation collects songs from their EP, other studio tracks, live performances, & demos. Some of the live tracks are bootleg quality. There's one track each by the Plimsouls, the Breakaways, & the Jack Lee Band. Some of the Nerves tracks don't include Jack Lee. It all hangs together nicely & gives us a good look at what we missed when the major labels ignored these guys. An essential album for anybody who cares about power pop."4 stars. The Nerves were a great band with lousy timing -- they were a top-notch power pop trio who emerged on the L.A. rock scene in 1977, just as punk was becoming the next hipster sensation and about 18 months before the hookier end of new wave would have given them a shot at the big time. Peter Casewent on to a memorable career fronting the Plimsouls and as a solo act, Paul Collins made a pair of great records as the leader of the Beat, and Jack Lee's tune "Hanging on the Telephone" became a hit for Blondie, making it abundantly clear that the Nerves' potential was very real and all three members could write and sing great songs, but during their all-too-brief existence the band self-released just one 7" EP and supported it with a D.I.Y. tour before falling apart. One Way Ticket is by no means the album the Nerves never got to make, but at least it gathers the scraps the band left behind in one convenient package. The four songs from the legendary Nerves EP are all here, along with two other studio tracks intended for a follow-up single that was never released, another stray studio recording, a pair of home-recorded demos, and seven rough but exciting live tunes from a Nerves gig in Illinois. A Case and Collins living room tape, a pair of relevant post-Nerves tunes by the Jack Lee Band, and an embryonic version of the Plimsouls round out the package. Several of Collins' songs would later appear on the first Beat album, and Case's tunes show the smarts and energy he'd bring to the Plimsouls, but it's Lee's work that's the real standout on this disc, and it makes one wonder how his career fizzled out after just one solo album. The piecemeal nature of One Way Ticket makes this a somewhat uneven listening experience, but the high points are pure, hooky bliss; the first seven songs sound like the first side to a terrific album, and the live recordings confirm that this band knew how to make their music work on-stage. One Way Ticket is a fine tribute to a band that came and went too quickly, and if you love '70s power pop, this is archival stuff that practically demands a place in your library."- AMG