Even though Rock Kills Kid have always claimed the Cure as an influence, spins through their prior EP showed the alternative rockers to be seemingly more familiar with the likes of Jimmy Eat World. At the time, the Cure only appeared as a mild undercurrent to their distinctive rock, but now that the entire band lineup has since altered save for its primary songwriter, singer/guitarist Jeff Tucker, well, Rock Kills Kid seem to have become way more acquainted with Robert Smith and company. But they don't blatantly wear this influence on their sleeves -- for every instance of nocturnal brooding, a lively dance step (i.e., "Paralyzed," "Midnight") is close behind. Much of the album stems from Tucker's experiences as a socially withdrawn teen that continued into near isolation following the aforementioned EP's release. It got to the point that for a few years he was illegally squatting in a recording studio, constantly writing songs and rarely venturing outside. As such, Are You Nervous? is a moody, dark-edged effort where Tucker often sounds like a young Bono fronting a band sonically similar to a less synth-reliant Communiqué or more subdued version of the Killers. Tracks are dotted with both attitude and hints of swagger and new wave dramatics as the album runs on Tucker's mature, soothing vocals, which give him -- and the overall record -- a contented and seasoned feel, even if Nervous is technically their first full-length. The airy "Hideaway" parallels Coldplay's more uplifting moments, while the moving, Editors-esque "Back to Life" is an unhurried moment that finds Tucker moving forward from the seclusion that previously filled his life. Tapping into the post-punk dance craze, "Hope Song" even more clearly (as the title suggests) represents the album's underlying hopeful and redemptive nature amid its otherwise solemn realms. Rock Kills Kid seem to have found their musical niche, and as a result, Are You Nervous? is a wonderfully satisfying late-night treat from a band just really getting started.
AllMusic Review by Corey Apar