The McCaul brothers began as a trio called The Mash before becaming The Nerves in March 1980. Bassist Colin Murphy was replaced by Conor Sweeney. This new lineup recorded a demo at Setanta Studios in Dundalk (just over the border from Newry), which received considerable airplay (Sims on BBC, Fanning on RTE) and brought them to the attention of Terri Hooley, who signed them to Good Vibrations Records.
The Nerves went back to Setanta studios to record their debut LP "Notre Demo". In late 1980 they entered the Battle of the Bands competition and won the Northern Irish heat held at the Ulster Hall, finishing ahead of Baraka, Flight 19, Magnum Force, Natural Touch, and Richmond Hill. and thereby securing a place in the national finals to be held in London in February 1981.
With a 15 date tour of Ireland planned for early 1981, the LP coming out in January and the Battle of the Bands final in february, the band's fortunes seemed set. There were high expectations for the band and their LP -- some were touting them as Undertones -- but despite positive reviews they never really took off and they split sometime later.
The band relocated to Dublin where it contined as a trio of the McCaul brothers, with Tommy switching to bass. This lineup recorded a second, mini-album at Slane Studios with John Dee at the controls, which was released on the bands own label in 1983. There is very little information on the sleeve (apart from a sleeve concept credit for one Dorothy O'Hare) so its little wonder most Nerves fans don't know about this record.
The music had also changed. There are echoes of Big Self and Elvis Costello (especially the vocals), and sharp/raspy synths and reggae/dub rhythms. It's become very hard to find.
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