The Nadas

Transceiver

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There's just not much you can say about the Nadas, one of heartland America's most accomplished and unassuming roots rock bands. Emerging from the college rock scene in Des Moines, IA, in the early '90s, the Nadas have built a significant regional following and piqued the interest of major record labels, but five albums into their career they're still releasing music on their own Authentic label and driving their own RV on endless tours. Their press agent suggests that Transceiver sounds a bit like a cross between Ryan Adams and John Mayer, but it will sound most pleasantly familiar to those who have fond memories of late-'80s bands like the Smithereens: good, solid meat-and-potatoes guitar rock with a minimum of frills (there's a Casiotone rhythm track on "Hold On," but it seems to be intended ironically) and hooks that sneak up on you rather than smack you in the face. The ones that hit the hardest right off are the rapturously tuneful "Diner" and "Hold On," but "Drowning" opens things with a Beatles-meets-Motown bang, and the gently heartbroken "One More Chance" ends things in an impressively restrained, floating mood. Recommended.

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