Polished harmonies, aspiring melodies. Nada Surf are back, trying to stretch even further the boundaries of their own inimitable style.
Nada Surf have come a long way since their 1996 Ã¼ber hit single 'Popular'. Their methodology has become much more polished, and has departed in direction from the style and urgency of their previous albums. Most importantly, however, it hasn't detracted from the value.
Lucky follows on from the band's previous two full-lengths. Perfectly blended vocals and instrumentation, this is vividly portrayed on opener 'See These Bones', which kicks off the LP in epic mood, with vocalist Matthew Caws reflecting on his inactivity and doubt: "Try it as they might / No one is immune to / Misfiring and acting on the wrong clues".
This self-reflection theme permeates throughout Lucky, for the vast majority of the album. With the notable exception of the final three songs. 'Ice On The Wing' starts off that way but finishes off with some instrumentation more common on A Hawk With A Hacksaw album.
'The Fox' starts off with a staccato intro similar to Tatu's , but don't let that put you off, this is one of the standout tracks from Lucky, as Caws laments on another lost love: "Serenity inside of me / Set asail / But you'll sail alone / If you don't hold the rope / You'll go alone."
Then album closer, 'The Film Did Not Go 'Round' concludes the album on a note of melancholy, somehow comparing the similarities of a broken camera, and the inevitable loss of one's love. Direct, brutal, beautiful. This is Nada Surf.
Yet, despite the natural beauty of the songs on Lucky, all of them miss the mark of a killer hook, or that raw post-grunge brashness of yester-year Nada Surf. 'Whose Authority' comes close, but there's nothing here that makes you want to tell the jock "he played a great game" or "tell him you liked his article in the newspaper".
Thankfully Nada Surf haven't transformed as much as say, Scottish band Idlewild during the same time period, however an angry song or two wouldn't go amiss from future releases.
But for now we'll settle for the harmonic, elusive love songs of Nada Surf.