Nada Surf | The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy | Rating: 9/11 | Reviewed by: Joshua Hammond |
From the first note of “Clear Eye Clouded Mind,” the opening track of Nada Surf’s newest album The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy it is rather obvious that the band will be making no excuses for being from the 90’s. Slinging fuzzy guitar riffs and power-poppy floor tom driven drums in your face, the band leaves nothing to apologize for. They’re not asking your permission to be here, they are punching you in the nose and stealing your favorite Gin Blossoms record when you aren’t looking.
Simply put however, if you have somehow managed to allow Nada Surf to creep up on you, you haven’t been paying attention to music quite as much your American Apparel wardrobe. Since their return in 2002, the band has somewhat quietly managed to compile one of Indie’s most consistent catalogues.
With emotional vocals, brisk guitars and punctuating structure, The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy is as infectious as a late August Zombie Flu. The album burns its way into your brain, revealing itself in layers and growing with every listen. Working best at a mid-tempo sprint, the album tends to linger somewhere between the sounds of Death Cab for Cutie and Jimmy Eat World. This is without a doubt due to the fact that guitarist-vocalist Matthew Caws was made to create hooks and with the album sewn together with them the listener seemingly has no choice but to stumble across something that will grab and capture their attention. It is because of this that each of the album’s ten tracks could manage to find legs of their own. However, in my humble opinion, the album stands at its strongest when played as a whole. Each track blends together flawlessly, creating one large song rather than a collection of creations.
Sadly however, the biggest letdown of the new release lands in the lyrics. Twelve listens in, I have yet to walk away remembering a set of lines, words or phrases. Put simply, this is because the stylings and instrumentations not only overshadow, but overwhelm the album as a whole. While this is not a huge loss overall and does not shelve an otherwise fantastic album, it does serve as a minor red flag for those who call foul on wordsmiths.
My advice is clear: not only should you rush out and buy The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy, you should grab the discography as well. Each album is worth the 16 bucks you’ll spend.