Nada Surf

Nada Surf introduced itself to most listeners with its fluke 1996 hit “Popular,” a dead-on satire of the sadistic teenage caste system that spurred sales of its Ric Ocasek-produced debut, High/Low. For the most part, the public stopped paying attention then, as did the group’s former label, Elektra, which passed on a domestic release for Low‘s follow-up, The Proximity Effect. But the strangely named group is now riding a wave of acclaim for its latest effort, the melancholy tour de force Let Go. “To me, it means being lost in your imagination,” vocalist and guitarist Matthew Caws says of the group’s obscure moniker. “Like being a space cadet, for better or for worse. But, it sounds so California dumbo — like a dumb, commercial-sounding name for a big, dumb band. So, it’s as if we are supposed to be a big dumb band — and we’re not, we’re a little, not-so-dumb band.” As Let Go proves, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Centered on the best damn single New Order never made (“Hi-Speed Soul”), Go specializes in bittersweet rock with roots in power pop and acoustic soul-baring, along with insightful lyrics brimming with creative imagery — fruit flies as metaphors for wistful resignation, anyone?

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