One of the many wonderful things about Bristol is the thriving DIY music culture that provides a rich variety of gigs, records and the onward links from there to art and publishing. Fostered by venues such as Cafe Kino, The Cube, Roll for the Soul and plenty more, we are fortunate to see the creative future of the city take it’s first tentative steps into the light.
The Nervy Betters are a band that comes from this inspirational scene and their self-titled album is full of thoughtful delights. Steve Brett and Henry Ireland form the core of the band and on this album they are joined by the additional talents of Roxy Brennan, Nicol Parkinson and George McKenzie. All of these are familiar faces in a multitude of bands, so credit is due to them for producing a record with such a distinct focus.
The sound of the record is simple and often sparse, particularly so on the large number of beautifully atmospheric instrumentals. This is music to listen to whilst sitting under the stars as fire crackles in the distance. Where there are vocals, the lyrics are tender, reflective and often bravely personal. The lead vocals are split between Henry and Steve and occasionally they make brilliantly effective use of the combined voices of those two and the additional voice of Roxy. They don’t overplay their hand with the combined voices, so each time they do use it, it provides a beautifully uplifting moment. It's a record with a glorious sense of space, allowing the listener to engage emotionally with the journey that these musicians are offering us.
The album is released through Stitch-Stitch Records and Polite Records, labels that Steve and Henry are heavily involved with. Sadly, it’s not a record that you are going to find in many shops but it is available via The Nervy Betters' Bandcamp page as a vinyl record, CD or digital download.