Under Review: Nada Surf – if i had a hi-fi

The guys of Nada Surf are music people.  Well, you probably could’ve guessed that seeing as how they’re, you know, in a band, but their musical passion is even more pronounced on their new covers collection, if i had a hi-fi.  Released in limited quantities back in May for Record Store Day (again, music people), the album features interpretations of some of the trio’s favorite songs, both old and new.  As you can well imagine, a lot of the group’s influences are revealed in the song selections, but they also take on a few tunes that might otherwise seem a bit out of character.  Nada Surf’s jangly roots make “Love Goes On!” very true to the Go-Betweens’ original, and The Moody Blues’ “Question” moves between rocking and delicate sections.  A couple of new wave acts are represented, with Kate Bush’s “Love And Anger” gets an appropriately spacious treatment while Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy The Silence” is re-imagined as a rather happy-sounding song.

Nada Surf’s inclusion of more recent bands’ songs, such as Spoon’s “The Agony Of Laffitte” and The Soft Pack’s “Bright Side,” shows that the trio’s love for music doesn’t end with any particular era.  A song from just last year is treated with the same reverence and respect as songs from thirty years ago.  The same goes for covers of well-known artists’ songs versus more obscure names.  Dance music pioneer Arthur Russell’s “Janine” is reworked as a short acoustic interlude and Bill Fox’s “Electrocution” is delivered with such gusto that you’d think it was a legendary hit.  The way that Nada Surf take on covers falls mostly into the ‘making the songs sound like Nada Surf songs’ category more often than not, but that’s a perfectly permissible route.  By imbuing their signature soaring melodic pop style, Nada Surf truly make these songs their own.  The covers record is coming back in a big way this year, with half of Supergrass, Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby and Mates Of State releasing their own as well.  If that’s the new musical trend, then Nada Surf is already toward the head of the pack with this assortment that’s sure to please listeners as fanatical about music as the band themselves.


~ by E. on June 7, 2010.

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