Nada Surf has always found a great balance of melancholy and joy in their music. Their finest songs deal with regret and hope in a very neutral way–everyone can find something to relate to. On their best work, Let Go and The Proximity Effect, the group transcends their dreamy-pop sound with insanely catchy hooks and emotional bridges that seem to spring out of nowhere.
Nada Surf has always found a great balance of melancholy and joy in their music. Their finest songs deal with regret and hope in a very neutral way–everyone can find something to relate to. On their best work, Let Go and The Proximity Effect, the group transcends their dreamy-pop sound with insanely catchy hooks and emotional bridges that seem to spring out of nowhere. Lucky, the fifth full-length from the Brooklyn trio, feels like an album you might have heard before. This isn’t to say the album is bad, in fact, it’s actually pretty good. It just feels …done.
Some songs still do sound fresh, “See These Bones” and “The Fox,” are two of the best the band has ever written. Nada Surf has obviously found their place in the music world and this album emits an intriguing confidence. They know what they are doing, and they do it well. Let’s just hope the straightforward Lucky is a breather for this potentially great band and that their next album will really blow us away.
Nada Surf plays the Doug Fir tonight, Jan. 31, at 8 p.m. The show is 21 and over and costs $17.
-Stover E. Harger III
Crushed StarsGossamer Days***1/2
This is some relaxed, even-paced indie-rock laden with acoustic guitars, folk lyrics and minimal percussion. It’s nice for what it is, which is to say a simple album that plays to a soft ear. Crushed Stars’ music won’t revolutionize folk rock, nor is this album going to recruit new fans to the genre. But if you already dig low-key tunes, you’ll enjoy this album, and if you prefer more engaging music, you’ll find it boring.
Wisely’s new self-titled album is an exercise in derivative monotony. This pop snooze-fest can easily be likened to Sertraline, the generic equivalent to the anti-depressant Zoloft: It’s a cheaper version of what it imitates and has the exact same effects. The only difference between Wisely and Sertraline is that Wisely is disheartening in its uniformity. This, the third proper studio album from Willie Wisely, delivers 12 tracks evoking singers like Ben Folds, James Blunt and Matt Costa. In fact, Wisely spends so much time incorporating the sounds of more accomplished musicians into his work, there’s virtually no room for originality. Song after song blends together, creating a listening experience devoid of a single memorable track. That said, if you’re a pop junkie jonesin’ for relief, Wisely will offer adequate satisfaction.
Willie Wisely plays at the Gerding Theatre at the Armory, Thursday, Feb. 7.