"...The pace picks up on ‘New Bird’ and ‘Out of the Dark’ is expansive and gorgeous, flying on the wings of a brass section and an earworm hook which makes it one of the standout cuts on the record..."
Veteran New York alt-rock outfit Nada Surf are back with their first album since 2012’s The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomers. The record – the band’s first as a four piece, recorded 20 years after their debut High/Low – is not going to take you back to the Weezer-esque roar of grunge-baiting anthem ‘Popular’. The decades seem to have washed away some of the rough edges and on You Know Who You Are the emphasis is on gentle, carefully-constructed and all-American alternative rock.
Straight-ahead tracks like ‘Rushing’ and ‘Animal’ fall a little flat, but there are enough positives elsewhere for these to be absorbed into pleasant background tunes while others sit centre stage. A hat-trick of easy slices of US indie gives the album a strong start, peaking on the lilting introspection of ‘Friend Hospital’, and at the other end ‘Victory’s Yours’ is triumphant, rushing with a twang and a flourish to the end of the record.
The pace picks up on ‘New Bird’ and ‘Out of the Dark’ is expansive and gorgeous, flying on the wings of a brass section and an earworm hook which makes it one of the standout cuts on the record, alongside the road trip sounds of ‘Gold Sounds’. The title track pushes into rockier territory and it is over its propulsive backing Matthew Caws that sings “you know who you are” before he is immediately challenged “maybe you used to”. Nada Surf know who they are now, far away from the moody spoken word of their angsty breakout song but totally comfortable with their mellow, mature selves. And so you should be too
Words - Joe Ponting
You Know Who You Are is released on March 4th on City Slang
Nada Surf official
9th April - Deaf Insitute, Manchester
10th April - King Tuts, Glasgow
11th April - Electric Ballroom, London