The four songs from the legendary Nerves EP are all here, along with two other studio tracks intended for a follow-up single that was never released, another stray studio recording, a pair of home-recorded demos, and seven rough but exciting live tunes from a gig in Illinois. A Case and Collins living room tape, a pair of relevant post-Nerves tunes by the Jack Lee Band, and an embryonic version of the Plimsouls round out the package. Several of Collins' songs would later appear on the first Beat album, and Case's tunes show the smarts and energy he'd bring to the Plimsouls, but it's Lee's work that's the real standout on this disc, and it makes one wonder how his career fizzled out after just one solo album. The piecemeal nature of One Way Ticket makes this a somewhat uneven listening experience, but the high points are pure, hooky bliss; the first seven songs sound like the first side to a terrific album, and the live recordings confirm that this band knew how to make their music work on-stage. One Way Ticket is a fine tribute to a band that came and went too quickly, and if you love '70s power pop, this is archival stuff that practically demands a place in your library. -- Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Nerves, The – One Way Ticket [Purple Swirl Transparent Vinyl] - New LP
recorded: 1976 - 1979
Rating: ***** (Good Shit)
comprehensive overview of this classic power-pop outfit, opening with two unreleased songs recorded for Bomp Records in 1977, "One Way Ticket" (Peter Case) and "Paper Dolls" (Jack Lee), the first number sort of flipping the theme from "The Letter" by the Boxtops--likely an influence on this outfit. It's a great song, killer start to this set, and Jack Lee's contribution is equally cool. Following that pair, the set offers the four songs from their only release, a 1976 E.P. from their own Nerves Records. All of these four songs are good, especially the first two, Jack Lee's original version of "Hanging On the Telephone" (later a hit for Blondie) and Peter Case's "When You Find Out." The other two are good too, Paul Collins' "Working Too Hard" looking back to the Beatles as well as foreshadowing his work with The Beat. The set also includes two killer demos from 1976, Jack Lee's "Stand Back and Take a Good Look" showing a Velvet Underground influence (or perhaps it was just influenced by the garage groups that influenced VU). While "Many Roads To Follow" (Case-Collins) clearly fits in with the sound of this band, the acoustic sound makes it one of a kind. It's clearly influenced by the Beatles, but it's completely American, coming out of the more reflective side of 60s garage. While reviewers often point out the DC5/Beatles influence on this band, this acoustic number reveals something that shows in all their songs, an influence that came from Middle America more than England. This group might have gotten it from England, but England got it from Middle America in the first place, and this band brings it back home, whether intentionally or not. When I listen to the Nerves, I hear this band grabbing the baton from Alex Chilton.
The set also features post-Nerves material from the late 70s and live cuts from the Nerves 1977 tour. Some of these come across as almost filler, but the strong cuts are plentiful, more than enough to make this album a worthwhile grab.
This band splintered into the Plimsouls and the Beat, as well as other groups, and the sound heard here influenced countless artists. The Nerves not only set an example that many followed, they also set a bar that most bands could only attempt to reach.