Review Summary: An okay post-grunge record brought down by lack of originality.
Nada Surf are an alt-rock band from New York, formed in 1992, the band have had one major label record and the rest on an independent label. High/Low is the band's one major label debut, fueled with that one hit single and a few hidden gems among the album.
Of course, most of the people have only heard Popular
, a teenage anthem. A song about popular people getting all the girls. Now, this would be one hell of a song if it wasn't for that they ripped off Weezer. The verses are spoken-word and contain a similar sounding riff throughout it and both of the choruses for the songs are a big sing-a-long. I do enjoy the song, but it has a lack of originality, the lyrics are interesting enough though. So with the "single" out the way, what else is there? The rest of the songs range from a nice grunge sound, a modern rock sound to a pop rock sound. This is definitely not an original record at all as it seems they are just built up from their influences without trying their own sound. Of course, debuts are usually like that though. The songs with the grunge sound to it are usually the best (of course, when I say grunge, it's usually just Nirvana). Sleep
is a damn fine song if it weren't for the pointless sounding verse. The only thing that saves the song from being dire is a really catchy, hook-filled chorus. This is one of the rare occasions where the chorus really does save a song. Matthew Caw is an okay guitarist, not for the technicality but for his ability to make up catchy hooks and incorporate them into the songs sweetly, sadly some of the songs have really boring parts and then there would be a shine of brilliance in other parts.
I'm not saying all the songs are like this, Treehouse
is a lovely pop rock track and keeps very consistent throughout. Sadly, this fine number is brought down again by lack of originality. The music sounds a Dinosaur Jr. song while the vocals sounds a bit like Rivers Cuomo. Of course, sorry to repeat myself but this is the band's debut album, but even debut albums usually contain a hint of a sound to come. I've not heard the band's other albums yet but I'm hoping they contain a more original sound. This album is only really going to be loved by alt. rock fans, people outside that field are only going to listen to Popular
of course until they figure it's a total Weezer rip-off. It's not a completely bad album but the lack of originality bugs me, and when you listen to this album, you really just want to go listen to it's influences. While I do actually enjoy the album at parts, it really isn't an amazing record and some of it is just really uninspired and totally boring
but I've got to admit, when the band hit the nail on the head, they really do just that. It depends more on if you base music on originality or catchy hooks, there is lots of nice hooks here and there but for the first, it's non-existent.