Gleefully trashing everything that their label -- Chicago post-rock bastion Thrill Jockey -- seems to stand for, Nerves play supercharged garage rock that owes nothing to hip-hop, samba or Kraftwerk. The trio's second album, "New Animal," recalls the Lyres' neo-garage-rock and the Oblivians' neo-rockabilly, although guitarist Rob Datum's high-pitched vocals suggest more glittery influences. Nerves' sound starts with the bratty blues-rock of the '60s bands immortalized by the "Nuggets" compilation, but it doesn't merely replicate that sound.
Although songs like "Red Night" and "Live All" take their beats from rhythm `n' blues, the band's attitude is decidedly punk. The two opening tracks, "Die Tonight" and "Get Me High," deliver equal doses of adrenaline and nihilism, galloping toward the apocalypse with as much elation as dread. If the band could match the pace of those songs all the way to the rave-up of the concluding title tune, "New Animal" would be a neo-punk classic. Alas, the album flags occasionally, but Nerves still pack more swagger into a single song than labelmates the Sea and Cake has into its entire career.
Appearing Sunday at the Black Cat with Axis Set. To hear a free Sound Bite from Nerves, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8109. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)