Nada Surf has always kept itself under the radar. This ’90s alt-rock band has brought their music through the last four decades with little or no change to their overall sound. They may have reinvented themselves in 2002 but their new album Never Not Together brings their familiar sound through to create an album that is somewhat reassuring.
With a choral introduction, “Looking for You” appears from over the musical horizon. It’s like a heavenly sunrise, that is slow and reassuring and its delicate guitar giving just enough alt-rock accompaniment. In its dreamy state “Looking for You” is probably one of the most experimental tracks Nada Surf has tried. The track moves away from belting guitar riffs and into the realm of perfectly weaved guitar and melodic cadences that is both melancholic and comforting.
Nada Surf’s sound has been placed solidly in the realm of math/alt-rock for some time now, but this album shows their ability to move into another musical dimension. Just like “Looking for You”, “Crowded Star” is spacey, dreamy and floating. It has an uplifting and when you listen to the lyrics, it’s not difficult to understand why. The lyrics describe a situation that many of us have been in; a time in our lives that require a change but a person then comes into our lives and changes it for us. It is a common occurrence and not one that is discussed regularly. But with their transcendental melodies, they hit the nail on the serendipitous head.
Unlike the rest of the album that is more than a little bit alternative, “Mathilda” starts with an acoustic guitar strumming the song into existence. It may be the longest song on the album and packs a punch. With a soft start, its content is anything but. The lyrics speak about positivity and societal norms. Each section changes focus with a different tempo, takes this tricky topic and separates it out to create a powerful musical discussion on gender and societal norms.
Never Not Together is 100% Nada Surf. And while some of the sounds are ones that we have heard since 1992, tracks like “Crowded Star” and “Looking for You” brings us on a slightly different path, just proving that Nada Surf’s popularity might just last a little bit longer.