Words: James Frostick
Band image: James Taylor

Phenomenal Perth-based goth-tinged post-punk unit Nerve Quakes have stepped back into the spotlight with news of a new album close on the horizon. ‘Dive Wreck’ is the first cut from the record – a dynamic and stirring track examining the loneliness of anxious episodes and the necessity of a caring support network.

It’s been a hot minute since we last had recorded output from Nerve Quakes. In the scheme of things, the band’s 2018 7″ ‘Running’/’Rewind‘ is still fairly recent, but current events have ensured everything made pre-2020 seem like a relic of another era. Nerve Quakes spent much of 2019 in creation mode, writing and recording a new album that will see the light of day later this year. Although details on the release as a whole are being kept quiet for the moment, the band is making their return known with a shimmering newbie called ‘Dive Wreck’. Sonically, ‘Dive Wreck’ is a stunner – pristine sparkling synths and guitars tempered with a dramatic edge. It’s a track that pairs these dizzying post-punk-meets-goth melodies with some lyrical content that hits close to home for anyone grappling with an anxiety disorder.

The disorienting feeling of an oncoming panic attack is one I know all too well. At its worst it’s akin to drowning – concrete shoes sending you to the depths, the light that ripples on the water’s surface becomes gradually fainter. Even the thought of the sinking sensation and narrowing field of vision as your brain collapses in on itself is almost enough to kick off a fresh episode. On ‘Dive Wreck’, Nerve Quakes grapples with the ‘sink or swim’ mentality that goes hand-in-hand with anxious episodes. As the band’s kaleidoscopic maelstrom of sound envelops us, vocalist Caitie wrestles with the choice of either calling out for help or dropping further into the abyss – at one part determining that they’d “rather sink than swim” and at another juncture that they’d “like to see a friendly face / to slow my heart’s ugly race“. A rational mind would say that having friends close by at moments like these is crucial to extricating one’s self from these harrowing depths, though an anxious mind is rarely rational – we constantly doubt ourselves and the validity of our friendships, often opting to commit to our descent rather than to reach for the life preserver. This is the conflict Nerve Quakes summarises so well on ‘Dive Wreck’, but the track’s central refrain of “call out my name” is a good reminder – for those grappling with anxiety disorders or their friends – to reach out when feeling fragile, as it can make a huge difference.

You can listen to ‘Dive Wreck’ here, which comes with a vivid visual treatment from artist and filmmaker Tom Rogers aka Whalerz Bigginz.