Review Summary: Nada Surf & mainstream: A bidirectional indifference
For those who know the story of Nada Surf, or have at least heard their mega hit " Popular" and bothered to check what this band is about, this review would probably be a waste of time. Just because the post-grunge, alt rockers haven't moved a bit from the common pop-rock magic formula that keeps afloat hundreds of similar bands around the world. And because Nada Surf are a common reference when it comes to that "unchangeable and decent" category. So there's nothing new here, and from the first listen you can tell that it couldn't be, for "The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy"
finds the band in complete harmony with its identity, and thus bringing an enjoyable, yet generic listen.
The good old fuzzy strumming, identifiable and catchy, sets the pace for Nada Surf's sound. Some acoustic guitars and a couple of mellow, simple melodies are, and have always been welcome. A little more effort to the refrains is always needed: some right chords and a good vocal melody. The way to create a listenable pop-rock song is paved. Haven't we forgot the lyrics? No problem. A careful sip of nostalgia, a bittersweet taste of the modern world, some sour childhood dreaming lines and we' ve got the words. Such a formula has been proved pretty successful, since you actually have a couple of good ideas to support it. Nada Surf clearly lack the latter, and while there's no fault in their time-tested recipe, the overall result seems more like a trite and commonplace journey to the grungy routine of a late 90's American band. Still, "Clear Eye Clouded Mind" is a good opening track, and "Jules and Jim" has a interesting refrain. We can even talk about experimenting in "Let The Flight Do The Fighting", where the the moody atmosphere is surprisingly sweeped by a loungy trumpeting at the end of the song, but unfortunately there's barely anything else to keep our interest.
"The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy"
is nothing more than a decent rock record that 'll prove enjoyable in some occasions. Nada Surf's status as alt rock outsiders won't change, but what we can keep, is the great album title which in the reviewer's eyes seems like a clever, sarcastic metaphor on music criticism as whole.