Remember Nada Surf? That band that pops up every few years with a new album and tour; they had that hit song back in the 90s? Remember?
Well, theyre back again, this time with an all-covers album called, If I Had A Hi-Fi. The covers are mostly from artists youve probably never heard of: Bill Fox, Arthur Russell, The Soft Pack, Mecromina, etc. A questionable choice, considering the band is probably hurtin to avoid daytime jobs.
But they also put a few recognizable tracks on the list: a Depeche Mode cover of the famous Enjoy the Silence, a take on Kate Bushs Love and Anger, and a try at The Agony of Laffitte by Spoon. The latter containing a touch of irony, considering Spoon and Nada Surf are bands who started their careers around the same time. The difference is, one of them still puts out great music, and the other seems bound for the county fair circuit.
Take Enjoy the Silence, for instance. They strip the track of everything that makes it awesome: the danceable beats, catchy synth lines, the dark vocals, and instead morph it into an alt 90s sing along, complete with repetitive ba ba, ba ba, ba ba chant at the end.
On Questions, an anti-Vietnam war number by The Moody Blues, they decide to crank up the distortion and rush through the first piece of the song before slowing it down and adding an orchestra, then switching back to the crunchy punk style verse. They essentially strip the song of any soulful qualities, glam it up, and reproduce it as a track that no Moody Blues fan will likely appreciate.
Its not all bad, though. The Agony of Laffite has some interesting percussion, and the backing vocals over the chorus give the song added depth. Its interesting to hear the low-fi acoustic number cranked up and extra-produced. Overall, they do the track justice.
The obscure You Were So Warm by Dwight Twilley is a fitting choice for this band. They give it a light-hearted, balmy make over. Lead singer Matthew Caws vocals shine on the track, and if nothing else it makes for a decent addition to a summer playlist.
While Nada Surf wont be turning out another Popular (that one hit song from the 90s) anytime soon, they keep plugging along, and the worlds no worse for the wear. Artists create, and sometimes they continue to do so whether or not anyone really cares.