As a long-time Nada Surf fan, I would say this is the perfect album at the perfect time.
"Clear Eye Clouded Mind" is a driving opening song that evokes the sound of "Do it Again" or "Concrete Bed," but is more upbeat and fast-paced -- and modern. Here we find the title of the album ("The stars are indifferent to astronomy") in a declaration of the ultimate expression of individuality. This song could be an anthem for anyone swimming against the mainstream. Not full of angst. Full of affirmation.
"Waiting for Something" could be the catchiest "ditty" on the album. "When I was Young" has been available for some time as a free download so many fans have heard it, of course. It is one of the more atmospheric tracks, and a solid entry. This, along with "Let The Fight do the Fighting" are two of the slower, more pensive songs. The latter, by the way, was the track a friend who is not familiar with Nada Surf singled out as a favorite after listening. That brings me to the point that this album is a GREAT gateway into the Nada Surf sound for friends who haven't been around for the duration. Throw it on the car stereo during 38 minute drive, and I guarantee your passengers will ask, "Who is this?!"
"Jules and Jim" and "The Moon is Calling" are both solid, fresh tracks that ensue the middle of the album isn't "filler" (Nada Surf doesn't make "filler"). Like so many other Nada Surf songs, these two will have you emulating Matthew's harmonic vocals (good luck!). "The Moon is Calling" reaches for a few more beautiful, lifting crescendos, while "Jules and Jim" has a paced, tip-toe approach to some of the loftier moments in the song.
"Teenage Dreams" is a marching manifesto of following your dreams. Its power is sublime.
"Looking Through" -- am I about to say it again? -- is catchy as hell! ("Are you dancing? Are you dancing at all~l~l?") Upbeat and airy, somewhat akin to "The Way You Wear Your Head".
"No Snow on the Mountain" will have your feet tapping the beat within ten seconds. And just when you think it has settled in, here come Matthew's lifting vocals, a slight variation in the timing, and just another memorable Nada Surf tune that finds it way into your head and heart.
The album ends with "The Future," which I personally think is the ONLY even marginally weak song on the album. It's fast and it's fine, but it seems a little hollow for what we expect from a band as introspective and full of wonder as Nada Surf. It's not a bad track -- it just has a lofty bar to meet, and I think it may fall just short of the rest of the album.
Bottom line: If you only like certain Nada Surf moments in time ("Inside of Love," "See These Bones," "Always Love") you won't find that dark, churning sound on this album. Like I said, it is more affirmative than any full album we've seen from Nada Surf. But if you are a newcomer, this album is the one to let you experience a series of crisp, fresh tracks and begin to appreciate all of the dimensions that Nada Surf encompass. Finally, if you are a fan who likes virtually every song they have recorded, you will find more than a handful of new treasures here. "The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy" is Nada Surf's most approachable, upbeat, lively album, and needs to be played for all your friends!