It is so hard not to just think “Popular” when one listens to Nada Surf. It really is a shame, as the music contained on “The Weight Is A Gift” is truly another nail in the coffin for those individuals who felt that Nada Surf was a one-hit wonder. The slight twinge of Goo Goo Dolls and Uncle Tupelo (slide guitar) during the disc’s opening salvo “Do It Again” makes sure that all are included. Moving back to the tight alt-rock (which was in turn influenced by the 60s Beach Boys/Beatles sound in turn) for “Do It Again”, the “wall of sound” created by the splashy drums and chunky bass lines further delineate their sound, even from a track to track type of things. While there is nothing as catchy as the aforementioned “Popular”, the music on “The Weight Is A Gift” shows marked improvement both in terms of arrangement and complexity that the band has imbued each of the tracks with.
The multiple-harmonies of “What Is Your Secret?” mesh well with the patchwork sound of the track, drawing together the arrangements of seventies arena rock with the halcyon days of nineties’ alternative. However meandering the largely-vocal “Your Legs Grow” may sound, the skillful incorporation of classical instrumental sound (the aura is there of both violin and piano) ties together any loose strings that the disc may have. While the disc may slide into a depressive lull during tracks like “All Is A Game” and “Your Legs Grow”, the opening stains of “Blankest Year” (oh fuck it, I’m going to have a party) bring the spirits of the band back up. Like the wonderful bi-polar individuals there are, “Comes A Time” plunges the listeners of “The Weight Is A Gift” back into a period of extreme introspection, even as the barely audible ghostly atmosphere of the track infuriates the ears of anyone around.
At so many points during “The Weight Is A Gift” Nada Surf moves beyond the simple conveyance of words in a vocal faction to bringing the vocals to a near-instrument status, really pulling double-duty. The harmonies achieved during “Armies Walk” even throw in “Behavior”-era Pet Shop Boys to the mix, which shows a band unhindered by genre listings allowing their complete selves placed into music. Nada Surf has came out of their cocoon with “The Weight Is A Gift”,an impressively well-crafted, mature sounding album that never fails to disappoint.
Top Tracks: Imaginary Friends, Do It Again
Nada Surf – The Weight Is A Gift / 2005 Barsuk / 11 Tracks / http://www.nadasurf.com / http://www.barsuk.com / Reviewed 24 July 2005