When Em Foster, songwriter-in-chief for Watford-based rock band Nervus, began to write songs in her bedroom, she did so purely as a means of personal catharsis, a way to exorcise her demons through rapturous melodies. Chronicling Em’s struggles with addiction and gender dysphoria, those songs became Permanent Rainbow, the 2016 debut album that emerged out of nowhere to become one of the most deeply affecting and personal collection of songs released that year.
If it hadn't have been for her band mates and close friends Paul Etienne (Keyboards) and Karl Woods (bass), Nervus may have stayed confined within the four walls of Em's bedroom. So personal and confessional were the songs on Permanent Rainbow that Em never had any intention of releasing them for public consumption. But Paul and Karl were convinced that something extraordinary lay within these songs; 10 self-cathartic confessionals that sounded jubilant, effervescent and laced with pop hooks on the surface, but revealed hidden, intricate depths upon further scrutiny. Jack Kenny, another one of Em's close friends joined on drums and the line-up was complete.
If Permanent Rainbow looked towards the self, the follow-up Everything Dies deals with exterior forces and how they play on the mind of someone dealing with gender dysphoria. Like all great sophomore albums, it expands the bands horizons without compromising on their original ideals. To this end, every instrument on Everything Dies (bar drums) was recorded in Em's bedroom in order to retain the home-grown DIY ethic the band adopted early on. It's far more direct than its predecessor, with a confrontational edge, as Em’s vulnerability turns to anger at a 21st century society still unwilling to accept that gender isn't simply defined within two restrictive parameters. Opener ‘Congratulations’ is a case in point, dealing head on with the societal expectations placed on us based solely on the sex we’re born with.