NADA SURF > Lucky

Fans of 2005’s The Weight is a Gift, which was said to be as perfect as indie rock gets, will quickly warm up to Nada Surf’s new one, Lucky. For 12 years, the New York trio-Matthew Caws (vocals), Daniel Lorca (bass) and Ira Elliot (drums)-has reflected on love and loss from an angsty teenagers’-eye view.

Label: Barsuk
Rating: ★★★★☆

Fans of 2005’s The Weight is a Gift, which was said to be as perfect as indie rock gets, will quickly warm up to Nada Surf’s new one, Lucky. For 12 years, the New York trio-Matthew Caws (vocals), Daniel Lorca (bass) and Ira Elliot (drums)-has reflected on love and loss from an angsty teenagers’-eye view. On Lucky, their fifth full-length album, however, gone is the self-conscious soft rock (Caws isn’t concerned with his Skywalker hair here), and in its place is mature mood-rock that’s as stirring as it is soothing. With an apparent lack of live-wire rockers, its shimmering power-pop gems, like album opener “See These Bones,” make Lucky highly listenable. On “Whose Authority,” one of the album’s best songs, Caws asks some big questions (“How do you stay where you most want to be?/Where’d you get the patience, did it come easily?”), suggesting he still doesn’t have all of the answers. On “Weightless,” distorted guitars and lyrics reeling with restlessness reveal them to be more experienced than they’ve been letting on (“Behind every desire is another one waiting to be liberated when the first one’s sated”). While “Ice on the Wing,” a last-hoorah anthem, finds Caws clinging to youth’s “hugs and drugs and movies,” unwilling to accept his fate as an adult (“I am made of young curiosity doomed to piety, double whiskey”), but ultimately conceding: “It’s all the same.” If The Weight is a Gift was a journey, Lucky is another stop along the way, a place where Caws and Co. look back and fumble forward into what appears to be a very bright future.