Nada Surf

Nada Surf once ruled the airwaves, but their reign was briefer than that of the homecoming queen, destining them for the cultural curio shop along with Monica's beret. Cast off by Epic when their second album, The Proximity Effect, failed to prove as, um, "popular" as their debut, the band took four years to recover.

Then last year, they released Let Go on the little Northwest label Barsuk. Distancing the band from power-pop Weezer-dom, the album percolates with a lazy pastoral vibe fueled by gentle melodies. While elements of their geek-rock past peek through the shades, as on "Happy Kid," which finds singer Matthew Caws as "just a happy kid with the heart of a sad punk," Nada Surf now skates a more melancholy course, as on "Blizzard of '77" with its longing for a hallucinogenic winter storm. Moody and introspective, Caws ponders fruit flies circling his lunch and wonders "do you ever feel like you just landed on this earth?" Nada Surf has escaped one-hit-wonderism with this get-well-soon card for shut-ins and the disenfranchised preterit.


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