Perth’s Nervous Trend was a previously unknown commodity to me, but these two songs are some of the most vital and energising cuts I have heard all year. The band has a limited web presence, and there are only a few releases on it’s Bandcamp aside from a 2013 demo and this new 7”, featuring two tracks – ‘Shattered’ and ‘Decency’. Black Wire Records is putting out the 7” release, and also put out a vinyl offering of the original demo tracks in 2014.
Nervous Trend blends emotive post-punk and dark-wave with hard-core speed and ferociousness. It’s driven, it’s pointed, it boasts anger and hurt laced within each sentence with lyrics railing against abuses and injustices committed by loved ones and the world at large. ‘Shattered’ and ‘Decency’ show an unflinching look at two types of abuses – intimate and cruel, and societal suffocation. One glance at the lyrics and you know what the band is on about here – stuff that makes you ashamed of the world you live in.
My interpretation of ‘Shattered’ is that it is about an abusive relationship, about being broken down by the actions of another. The words touch on an exertion of power on a vulnerable individual – a person whose personality dictated by whims, someone who is ridiculed and mistreated. The torment leads to loss of the self, a loss of purpose – an unsureness of what to be in order to make someone happy, not realising that one’s own happiness and needs have been sacrificed. It’s about being expected to fill a hole in someone while they are simultaneously gouging one out in you. ‘Shattered’ is about being abused by someone who is no god nor being worth worship – just a human, a shitty human.
On the flip side is ‘Decency’, which examines the idea of reconciling with the effects of being beholden to a society that looks down upon those living in the fringe of society. It’s about the outsiders being told to normalise, realign with the virtues of the majority otherwise their value is diminished in the eyes of the many. Nervous Trend points out how personal freedoms are being sacrificed, or at least threatened. Looks, behaviours, tastes – oppression is rife and executed in the name of religion and antiquated values. Conform or be exiled, or as vocalist Jen Mace puts it: “This is not your proselytizing. This is my life”.
This a band that is sorely needed in this country – one that conveys the injustices committed against women and the marginalised. This is a band that is angry and fed up – pulling at the dilapidated foundations of a oppressive societal structure, skewering hypocrisy and turning the tables on those who impede beneficial cultural progress. It’s bleak, but the bleak shit always hits hardest. It’s real, and realness is confronting – doesn’t make it any less true, though. Fuck what you are listening to; if it isn’t this then you’ve made a mistake.
Image: Kelly Hana