if i had a hi-fi Enhanced
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If I Had A Hi-Fi
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SEE BARCODE: 0881626929926DISC 11. ELECTROCUTION2. ENJOY THE SILENCE3. LOVE GOES ON!4. JANINE5. YOU WERE SO WARM6. LOVE and#38; ANGER7. AGONY OF LAFFITTE8. BYE BYE BEAUTE9. QUESTION10. BRIGHT SIDE11. EVOLUTION12. I REMEMBERED WHAT I WAS GOING TO SAY
Rather than attempting to distil all of their influences into one covers record, major label rejects-turned independent mainstays Nada Surf have chosen to capture the songs that were, as you might expect, in their hi-fis at the time of recording. Consequently and unlike most covers records, If I Had a Hi-Fi (which, rather neatly, is a palindrome) sounds wonderfully fresh and easy, but also yields some unexpected pop trinkets. Chances are this is because the range of artists covered is wide enough and, crucially, the record sounds like it would've made a good mix-tape even if they hadn't recorded it themselves.
They rollick mightily on the likes of Bill Fox's Electrocution and a masterfully perky version of The Go-Betweens' Love Goes On, but they also find emotional depths to plumb on Kate Bush's Love and Anger. In fact, the Bush track sees vocalist Matthew Caws at his most imitative (complete with a range of rhythmic tics and copied idiosyncrasies), but the meat of the song is never forgotten. Cannily, they manage to get to the very root of all the material with ease, with no more tools than spangly guitars and some decently constructed vocal harmonies. If anything, it's a testament to the value of taut efficiency in rock ensembles.
The very strongest examples are perhaps the most well-known choices. Their considerable overhaul of Question by The Moody Blues is, like the original, a double-headed beast, by turns raucous and beautiful, but Nada Surf dutifully amplify the raucous, prettify the beautiful and transform it into something quite far-reaching. Likewise, Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode might not be the most surprising choice, but it is tremendously affecting thanks to the breezy weariness of the delivery.
These versions might not all be shocking re-interpretations, but Nada Surf demonstrate ably that they completely understand the merits of the music they're working with, and the results are ours to gratefully digest. The band's brushes with the mainstream in their earlier career has clearly led to them relishing their relative obscurity, and If I Had a Hi-Fi is proof that their craft is all the better for it. A surprising and emphatic success. --Daniel Ross
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Top customer reviews
a dozen of their favorite songs by other artists.
The characteristic jangly guitar and close harmony vocal
sound which defines much of the best of their back
catalogue is fully present and correct and very much alive
in these splendid renditions and reimaginings.
The project kicks off in fine style with a glowing
performance of Cleveland singer/songwriter Bill Fox's
fine composition 'Electrocution'. The naive but lovely
melody emerges unscathed and enhanced from the dense
wall of sparky sound generated by the band. Splendid stuff!
Depeche Mode's 'Enjoy The Silence' receives an almost exotically
lush interpretation which loses some of the dark melancholy of its
progenitor but raises the tempo and tone to one of luminous and
uplifting warmth by virtue of its quasi-Beach Boys vocal treatment.
'Love and Anger', from Kate Bush's 1989 album 'The Sensual World',
is given an epic pulse-quickening performance. Matthew Caw's
plaintive voice delivers the melody and the words with
affectionate honesty. One of the album's several highlights.
Hearing the Moody Blues' 'Question', from their 1970 release
'A Question Of Balance', resurrected in such bright new raiments
is a curiously affecting experience. The brass arrangement in
the central section (substituting Mike Pinder's somewhat shaky
mellotron in the original) is a particularly nice touch.
One of the most faithful interpretations in the set is their
take on Spanish band Mercromina's darkly wonderful song
'Evolucion' from the 2006 album 'Canciones De Andar Por Casa'.
The economical but highly effective use of strings delivers
additional depth and texture to an already heady concoction.
Final track 'I Remembered What I Was Going To Say' is a
delightful little piece of magical fairground burlesque
(based on an original instrumental tune by 'The Silly Pillows')
which brings the album to a whimsical dream-like end.
Nada Surf make music to make you smile.
'if I had a hi-fi' is a small treasure.
Then when "Question" started, I was amazed. The Moody Blues are one of my all-time favourite bands (own all their albums) and here are one of my current fave bands, covering one of their tracks! Gets me thinking, does one of the members of Nada Surf also have a slight love of the Moodies too?
This is a very light-hearted album and is just good to listen too. Highly recommend.
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