Nada Surf

The Weight Is a Gift

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Upon its reissue in 2003, Let Go had already positioned itself to be an indie rock milestone in the making for Nada Surf. They'd left the major labels behind for Barsuk and remained for their fourth album, The Weight Is a Gift. The punk threads found on Let Go are much more relaxed this time out. The snarky, boyish charm of High/Low, which made the band a brief mainstream favorite in the mid-'90s, won't ever fade, but ten years later Nada Surf don't appear to be that interested in the angst-ridden, fashionable appeal that they once. The Weight Is a Gift is a soothing fit for those who grew up with the band. This 11-song set calls clich├ęs into question, challenges old convictions, and somehow makes sense of growing older without losing sight of one's youth. Nada Surf have composed fine songs for free-thinking, analytical, and pensive individuals, without being overly complex. The result of all this experience and reflection is that Nada Surf and producer Chris Walla have made a great pop/rock record. It's more of an emotive affair, with soft-hued guitar layers, hushed harmonies, and frontman Matthew Caws' signature aching, bittersweet vocals. From the gloomy orchestrations of "My Legs Grow" and the shiny hopes of "All Is a Game" to the more unapologetic, rollicking moments such as "Blankest Year" and "Armies Walk," the disc never loses momentum. The Weight Is a Gift is Nada Surf's most honest and earnest record to date.

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