A Review of Nada Surf’s New Album, “If I Had a Hi-Fi”

If I Had a Hi-Fi

If I had a hi-five…

…I’d give it to Nada Surf for their newest release, If I Had A Hi-Fi. This simple, 12-track album, clocking in at just over 40 minutes, consists entirely of the band’s interpretations of some of their favorite songs by other artists. These artists include the likes of Depeche Mode, Spoon and The Go-Betweens. Generally speaking, covers are always entertaining. What is better than hearing one of your favorite songs in an entirely new way? Even if the cover is not already one of your favorite songs, hearing a rendition by a band you like can help you to find new music that you might like by artists you were unaware existed. Luckily, If I Had A Hi-Fi has all of these qualities in one awesome album.

Nada Surf takes the catchy melodies and simple lyrics of the originators, and then melds it with their distinct laid-back style of delivery to create a succinct, catchy and, most importantly, fun album. Nada Surf really wants the listener to have fun with this one. The amusing case for the CD consists of hand-written lyrics to each song in order to allow the listener to sing along. Do not go into the album expecting some grand social commentary or world-changing music. This is just a collection of songs that Nada Surf wanted to perform for themselves and you. Just follow the album’s instructions: play at full volume and sing along. As if the case was not enough, the songs are no pain in the ear either.

The album begins with some extremely enjoyable songs that get the listener pumped up for the rest of the album. A few examples are covers of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” and The Go-Betweens’ “Love Goes On,” which will have you singing along before you can get through the first listen, even without the lyrics at hand. The next bit slowly winds down the intensity and trades it in for some beautiful crooning from lead singer Matthew Caws. Spoon’s “Agony of Lafitte” and Moody Blues’ “Question” each calm the listener while simultaneously refusing to release the listener’s attention. The album ends with an enjoyable instrumental song entitled “I Remembered What I Was Going to Say,” originally by The Silly Pillows. While the short length and lack of lyrics seem more like an interlude than a conclusion, the tune seems to say, “Thanks. This was fun.” Simply put, it was.

“Love Goes On”
03 Love Goes On (The Go-Betweens)
09 Question (Moody Blues)

Nada Surf’s Website & Myspace