If you know your stuff, you know the story. If you dont, here it is: We begin where all good things outside of Seattle do in NYC. Matthew Caws and Daniel Lorca meet in high school and play around the city in a few short-lived bands, eventually forming a trio they call Nada Surf. Ira Elliot (Fuzztones legend) came in a little later, and in 1995 the band teamed with Elektra and later Ric Ocasek, who produced their debut LP, High/Low. The album sold nicely because of a little song called Popular that became a hit on MTV. Nada Surf toured a bunch and in 1998 recorded The Proximity Effect, the release of which was delayed due to a protracted rights battle with Elektra. Finally. after enjoying much critical acclaim overseas, the album came out stateside amid a throng of late-century cynics, skeptical of a band known primarily for a novelty single. And while reviews were generally positive, the album was sadly overlooked. Time passed during which the band continued to enjoy a rabid fan base in Europe, while stateside many believed Nada Surf had dwindled off into relative obscurity. But that wasnt the case. The band came out of nowhere and shocked everyone with 2003s critically-lauded masterpiece, Let Go (an excellent rainy-afternoon album, full of gentle and melancholic beauty Nada Surf show enough panache to leave most of their Nineties-rock peers eating hot dust." Rolling Stone). Having had their fill of major label semantics, the band chose Seattles Barsuk Records to release the album a pitch-perfect collection of rock songs that charmed music-lovers and critics the world over with its candor and revelry, and gave Nada Surf a new life and new home in the doting arms of contemporary indie rock ("A moody rock lullaby and further proof that most bands hit their stride long after MTV stops paying attention." GQ). Now, even after touring behind Let Go for almost two years with no further releases, they can still fill a room and a mighty big one at that in many countries, securing their place in the canon alongside folks like Spoon, The Shins and Death Cab for Cutie.
Enter The Weight is a Gift. Picking up where Let Go left off, The Weight is a Gift answers questions of lust and deception, greed and love, joy and regret and the rites of passage you werent quite ready to pass through. Produced primarily by DCFC rock wizard Chris Walla (who also plays on the album) and the band itself, The Weight is a Gift chips away the grit and pretense clogging up much of todays rock agenda, leaving only pop in its purest form the stuff goose bumps are made of. As it seems to every time I'm home for a long time, life really moved in and I ceased being in a band 24 hours a day, explains Matthew. And before you know it, we're in the studio in Seattle with Chris at The Hall of Justice, and Im writing new songs, which would be great if I'd finished the old ones. Nada Surf recorded what theyd already arranged, and then fell into writing on the spot. Fast-forward a few months later when band headed back out west to work with Chris this time at John Vanderslices San Francisco studio, Tiny Telephone. We worked by the seat of our pants again, says Matthew. But this time, I think we were more ready. I had a lot going on at home, and could only keep it together if we were working. I wasn't the only one, and we got completely immersed in the process. Several months passed during which the boys set the record aside, led their lives and listened to only mainstream hip-hop. They finished things up once and for all this past spring in various NYC apartments, basements and living rooms.
Harmonies stack up knee-deep as the boys channel their inner Moody Blues in swelling epics like Do It Again, All Is A Game and the best pop song youll hear all year Imaginary Friends. The albums soft, fuzzy and undeniable centerpiece, Always Love, issues a twinkling conviction while What Is Your Secret pilots the arrival of a brutal truth. Throughout, even within the more soft-spoken moments on The Weight is a Gift (Comes a Time and the eerily beautiful Your Legs Grow), it is Caws profoundly emotive and angelic voice that makes this album not just something to hear, but something you feel in your gut.
It plays out like the best bedtime story: One that riles you up, spooks you a bit, makes you think, then eases your mind. And when you go to sleep, you might know a little something you didnt when you woke up that day