The Nervebreakers – Hijack The Radio! (2012)

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Now here’s a nice and nasty blast from the past!

I admit I had forgotten all about the Nervebreakers until “My Girlfriend Is A Rock” refreshed my memory. The song received quite a bit of airplay on Bay Area stations at the hour of its release, in late 1978, and I loved it to bits. But silly me, as I never bothered looking for the single, nor did I investigate the Dallas, Texas, band’s further efforts. So what a pleasant surprise this retrospective is!

Born in 1973, the Nervebreakers held the honor of being one of the very first genuine punk bands in the region. The group garnered instant recognition, and aside from cutting some hot discs of their own, they were hired as former Thirteenth Floor Elevator singer Roky Erikson’s back-up band for a string of live gigs, which was captured on vinyl.

Although the Nervebreakers are as raw and raunchy as any punk act worth its saucy smirk should be, such aggression is tempered by a keen sense of rhythm and melody. Sure, these guys are fast, loose and wild, but they can actually play their instruments and carry a tune. Crossing the power popping might of the Who with the chaotic insanity of the Stooges, sealed with a kick and lick of Clash styled brutality, the Nervebreakers produce a sound that is forceful, unsettling and simply brilliant.

Devised of material recorded between the years 1977 and 1979, Hijack The Radio! (Get Hip Recordings) is so good that it could pass as a greatest hits collection. Aflame with a super catchy chorus and jumbles of juicy hooks, the title track of the disc, which needless to say, hurls abuse at the sad state of radio, is a true blue punk pop classic. Hammered to a pounding, stomping garage rock beat blending the primal urgency of the Kingsmen with the humor of the Ramones, the aforementioned “My Girlfriend Is A Rock” is another stand out number on the set. Downright demented, the girlfriend lead singer Tex Edwards refers to really is a rock. She looks like chalk and can’t dance because she is concrete!

A loud and manic cover of the Troggs’ “Strange Movies” additionally appears on Hijack The Radio!, and then there’s the moody moaning of “My Life Is Ruined,“ the angry rant of “I Wanna Kill You” and “Beyond The Borderline,” a hard and heavy rocker roiling and coiling with interesting unpredictability.

Plastered with explosive drumming, guitars humming with excitement and militant vocals that kind of remind me of Graham Parker, “Hijack The Radio!” is vintage punk rock at its best. Considering the Nervebreakers reunited and will soon issue a brand new album, the time is ripe for the band to be reassessed. So don’t be a party pooper, give a listen to Hijack The Radio!, and support the group’s forthcoming disc as well. You will be glad you did, and so will the Nervebreakers!

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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