Nada Surf has flown under the radar for quite some time. Their catalog has continually expanded, while their fan base has remained mostly the same. Their core three (Matthew Caws, Daniel Lorca and Ira Elliot) have been intact since 1995. They’ve only introduced one new, full-time member since then – the 2012 addition of former Guided by Voices guitarist Doug Gillard. Status quo, as they say.
Nada Surf have managed to put together a well-received album every two to three years since their initial offering High/Low was released two decades ago. That particular album was produced by Ric Ocasek and gained a decent amount of national acclaim thanks to the mostly spoken word, 50s teenage guideline-inspired song “Popular”. It’s this track that remains, in the eyes of the public, their claim to fame. But it’s also a song that rarely defines them according to their fans.
After the release of High/Low and the vastly underrated The Proximity Effect, Nada Surf put out what would be, in the eyes of most, their seminal album – 2002’s Let Go. It was marketed as an indie album due to its release via Barsuk Records, but it’s more power-pop than anything else. A near perfect mix of the hook-heavy and the meandering, it’s commonly referred to as one of the best albums of the decade. And as with any great band, they followed Let Go up with a series of critically-acclaimed albums in the coming years, but it’s hard to keep climbing when you’ve already summited.
Have to be honest, I’m kind of partial to the band. So much so that my wife and I requested our wedding band learn “Inside of Love” from the previously mentioned Let Go so we could dance to it at the end of the night. A highlight of the evening, for sure. It’s a song that can be very sad if you focus on the lyrics, but also very beautiful all things considered. It’s the type of tune that falls apart at the refrain, then pulls itself back together before the final chorus in a way that I probably couldn’t give justice to if I tried, so Iwon’t.
It’s that type of attachment their songs tend to create. They sing about loss, listlessness, and the minds ability to wander, among other things. The moments everyone experiences from time to time. SomehowNada Surf finds a way to capture them in a way that seems more intricate and personal with each successive album.