A while back, I wrote a review of the Nervous Dater album Don’t Be a Stranger. It was of the “better late than never” variety, as the album came out in 2017 but I did not find it until 2020. The power of the internet! This time, though, I was on top of things and listened to the new Nervous Dater album Call in the Mess pretty much right upon its release.
After listening to Call in the Mess, my primary, instant reaction is a desire to listen to Don’t be a Stranger again. Calling Call in the Mess a sophomore slump is maybe too harsh, but I definitely did not hear the same potency I heard in Nervous Dater’s previous album. I enjoyed it, but also needed to revisit it to write this review, because nothing really stuck out to me about the album. It just sort of washed over me. All that I distinctly remembered was not really digging the album opener “Middle Child.” That remains true.
That being said, the album is pretty good. I don’t despise any of the songs, and a few of them are quite good. The band’s sound is the same as Don’t be a Stranger, so it feels half of a little weird that this album is such a clear step down to me. It’s the same, but not quite as good. That happens, though. It’s true what they say in a way. You have your whole life to write that first album, but then you have to go back to square one for the second. Maybe the instrumentation wasn’t quite there enough. Maybe the lyrics could have the same punch. I’m not saying you shouldn’t listen to Call in the Mess. It’s worth a listen. For me, though, it may just be that one listen. Well, plus the second listen to make sure I remembered the album enough for this review.