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on 4 March 2008
Let Go is one of my favourite albums, and I've kept an eye on Nada Surf since. The Weight is a Gift didn't quite match expectations, so I had high hopes for Lucky.
'See These Bones' is a great opener that ends with a three-way overlapping melody that sets the bar very high in the catchy stakes. 'Beautiful Beat' matches it for pop brilliance.
Elsewhere, 'The Fox' nicks Peter Buck's effects pedal circa Monster for some fuzzy distortion and a song that unfolds with repeated listens. 'Are You Lightning' and 'Weightless' also need to be heard a couple of times to really get them.
In all, those hopes are vindicated in part - this falls somewhere between the last two albums. There are some great songs, some more experimental directions, but nothing that really caught my attention the way Let Go did.
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on 5 February 2008
It's an unfair comparision maybe, Let Go Nada Surf's third proper album was sensational and they have now followed it with two albums which get nowhere near that level of consistent songwriting masterclass. However like The Weight is a Gift (their 4th album) Lucky does have a couple of comparable songs and on this occasion an album that feels more rounded than TWIAG.

The album opens with See These Bones, a song which has been available for download and streaming for a few months now. It is a great song but does feel rather awkward as an opener.

Whose Authority is next and will be a single. This feels very much like a TWIAG direction song albeit in a good way. Insanely catchy, an almost perfect three minute pop song.

Beautiful Beat takes a few listens but does eventually get inside your head. Neither a rocker or a ballad in my opinion, it floats along quite nicely without really reaching any great heights.

Here Goes Something is a slight tune, played mainly with acoustic guitar with Matthew Caws vocals very high in the mix. Once again, pleasant enough without really showing too much ambition.

Weightless is perhaps the one song to really sit up and take note of. On initial listens it didn't blow me away but the more I took in, the better it got. Guitars crash alongside a brilliant vocal. Some people have said this recaptures Nada Surf's early sounds from the mid 90's, but I don't necessarily agree. It is just a brilliant song. The middle vocal part with voice and a quiet backing is just awesome and then kicks in again. I defy anybody to not be blown away by this song.

Are You Lightning is another slight tune with a country feel to it. Once again and like many of the songs on Lucky, Caws vocals are high in the mix and he responds with a perfect delivery showing a newly found confidence in his often underrated vocal style. Very sweet.

I Like What You Say should be familiar to most Nada Surf fans having appeared on the soundtrack to the film John Tucker Must Die. This is a newly recorded version which some fans have found fault with but I think it improves on the original and deserves it's choice as first single off the album. Very very catchy.

From Now On kicks in from the start and is a nice rocker in a similar style to Imaginary Friends off TWIAG. Whilst not rounded enough to be considered for a single (in my opinion) it is classic pop Nada Surf style and is one of the best songs on the album.

Ice On The Wing is another song which threatens greatness and doesn't really deliver. A well constructed and sung verse is followed by a relatively weak chorus. Shame, as it has so much promise.

The Fox is going to split the fans opinions I reckon. On first listen I didn't get it at all. It sounded too much like they were trying to hard to be different but once again, repeat playing will draw you in and then you will appreciate just how great the song is. The middle vocal part (Beachy Head) is fantastic. An ambitious effort which does work, it just might need a few listens.

The Film Did Not Go Round is a nice closer. Simple, acoustic guitar against heart felt vocals.

To sum up I believe Nada Surf have improved on their last album, The Weight is a Gift. Whilst that album had 4 or 5 great songs on it, the rest were pretty average and spoilt the flow of the album.
Lucky follows a similar vein with once again 4, 5, maybe 6 great songs (See The Bones, Whose Authority, Weightless, I Like What You Say, From Now On, The Fox) but the others are never throw away.
Whilst never reaching the heights of Let Go, or for that matter The Proximity Effect (2nd album) Nada Surf continue to produce albums which although bringing nothing new to any particular music genre, do have you tapping your feet and singing along to yourself. Surely, that is what makes a great band?

If this is your first Nada Surf album and you like it, may I suggest immediate review of their back catalogue. With Lucky you are catching a band producing solid albums whilst never quite recapturing past glories. They should never have been so great in the first place.....
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on 4 July 2011
I have been following Nada Surf for some time.The band has grown up and the energetic rawness of their earlier stuff (much of it good I might add) has been replaced with a smoother sound with smoother vocals. The band has evolved and this is their best and most consistent composition to date. Not a bad song on the album. See These bones and Beatiful Beat (Police like) are instant smashes with the listener but the stand out song for me is "Are you Lighning" which smootches at a slower pace but is one you will want to join in with at the end and hear again.
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on 10 August 2008
This one is a killer and it is definitely 5 stars. "Beautiful Beat" is one of the most compelling, beautiful and killer songs I have ever heard. Lennon-McCartney-ish melody and harmonies that grab and don't let go. For fans of Neil Finn, Death Cab for Cutie, Earlimart, Winterpills, Milk and Honey Band, Beatles, Beach Boys, etc etc etc.. This album is one to play over and over, each song totally engaging... This band gets better and better. Brilliant!!!
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on 28 July 2009
I got this album as soon as it came out, the first time I listened to it, I didn't think the songs were as good as the first few off of 'The Weight Was A Gift'. A year or so after getting the CD I threw it on and listened to it. I really like it now, it's grown on me. I just had to listen to the album all the way through properly a few times.
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The third (if not 4th) in a sweet run of records. These kids set a pretty high standard in what they produce. I think its a bit poppier than TWITG, but is a very very solid record. It will keep the Nada Surf fans happy and no doubt win a few more over. It might even stop people from exclaiming that they didn't know Nada Surf had done anything else since Popular (which is crap compared to everything they have done since). Anyways, its a good record, so go buy it and catch them on their current European tour as they are sweet live. Oh, and don't pay any attention to the Q magazine review of this record. Those arrogant heathens have no idea about good American indie and would rather everyone sounded like the Arctic Monkey's or the Enemey or...any other umber of British bands at the mo - just a wee rant to finish there. Go buy 'Lucky'!
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on 2 January 2008
"Lucky" enough to have heard an advance copy of this (see what I did there). Its excellent, more instantly memorable than 'The Weight is a Gift', which didn't really do it for me. A bit more rock, too. 5 stars, people.
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VINE VOICEon 3 March 2008
Nada Surf have been garnering effusive critical reviews for some time now and I have been ignoring them at the same rate. What is really inexpiable about this on a personal level is that I bought their single "Popular" back whenever that was released and loved it's crunchy guitar angst and the lyrical bile yet saw no reason to purchase anything else by them. I have remedied that now by buying Lucky , their fifth album and while it is all the things that people get so excited about , polished power pop that straddles indie rock weightiness with mainstream pop illustriousness , to my way of thinking it, isn't strong enough in either department to make it anything special.
By all accounts , and I have done my homework here the bands epoch making work is the album "Let Go" from 2002 , so it seems I have entered their catalogue too late. That's not say that Lucky is an out an out write off . Much of the album is pleasant enough to listen to with spangled guitar lines, rich harmonies and the overall ambience of a very fine band doing what they do best. However not one song on the album really sinks its hooks into the subconscious , or makes the hairs on the back of the neck stand to attention like cadets in a passing out parade. It's consistent , but that consistency is around the just above average level if you want to tag school mark criteria to it.
Also given that the album has a number of notable guest artists popping up -Members of Death Cab For Cutie, Calexico and Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter, as well as Julianne Hatfield and Ed Harcourt- it lacks variety and the sort of exigent impact you would expect such personnel to make. The four track bonus disc is for real Nada Surf nuts only .
For power pop to be really memorable it has to contain genuine sonic clout and tunes that could stop a bellicose mammoth in it's tracks. Lucky has none of that .Tracks like "See These Bones" , Whose Authority" or "Weightless" are fine while they are on but the instant they are gone ...they are gone. No residual impact at all. You will not be whistling them all day or indeed within five minutes of the track ending. Maybe for Nada Surf their luck just ran out.
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