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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Nada Surf
Let Go
Barsuk Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Just another band slated to be a one-hit-wonder by the MTV crowd, Nada Surf has obtained a new tag line for itself, that of being "a respectable pop outfit." The New Yorkers that spawned the 120 Minutes anthem "Popular" has been around since High/Low, making records and living it up with all their popularity in Japan, and now Nada Surf is back in full effect, with a few- no, scratch that-a lot of changes. The guys have new haircuts (including one very stylish faux-hawk), a new outlook, a new label (Seattle's Barsuk Records, home to Death Cab For Cutie, John Vanderslice, The Prom, Rilo Kiley, etc) and, most importantly, a new sound.

Though I hesitate to use the much-clichéd words "evolve" and "mature," I think it's necessary when describing what's happened to Nada Surf's sound with Let Go. This is not a masterpiece, by any means, but it is certainly a fantastic modification of sound, especially a band for which I had little to no future expectations prior to this release. I'm under the impression that no one in America knew this was coming, except maybe the most diehard Nada Surf enthusiasts, a group of people I'm sure made up only a sliver of the American population.

My first impression of Let Go was that it was a pretty typical nameless "indie-rock" sounding album, but after listening to it a bit more, I noticed more diverse influences and was able to recognize the album's significant appeal. On "Blonde on Blonde," a clear homage to Bob Dylan, Matthew Caws sounds like Chris Martin of Coldplay fronting Death Cab for Cutie, just less whiny and British, as he sings, "I've got Blonde on Blonde on my portable stereo/it's a lullaby from a giant golden radio." The beautiful acoustic "Blizzard of 77," on the other hand, could be a Modest Mouse number, and "Happy Kid" could be a less bland Ben Kweller, and hints that Nada Surf might have some roots in Rasberries and Cheap Trick-ish power-pop. The thoughtful "Inside of Love," what I'm led to believe is Let Go's first single, could be Nada Surf's next hit, though definitely not to the extent of "Popular." On "La Pour Ca," Matthew Caws tries at singing in French, and doesn't do a half bad job, sounding like a male-fronted Stereolab without electric guitar.

If you're looking for a life-changing record, Let Go probably isn't your best bet. But, if you're looking for a band's relatively low-key but well-done comeback, this probably is.

Reviewed by Jeanette Samyn
A contributing writer for LAS and a former music director WBAR at Barnard College.

See other reviews by Jeanette Samyn

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