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Nada Surf

Lucky (Barsuk)

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Nada Surf can attribute its dozen-year career to its knack for making some of the whiniest indie-pop music on the planet. There's something comforting about frontman Matthew Caws' safe and familiar sounds. He's sorta like that cool older brother, who plays in a band that's kinda popular with the kids and writes songs about his frequent girl problems. Not much changes on Lucky, the group's fifth album, but there's now some urgency in Caws' voice that makes the tunes a little less needy than they used to be.

It also helps that most of Lucky's songs are fast and loud. Fans may even find themselves asking, Is this really the same Nada Surf? After the first few cuts settle in, the answer is, unfortunately, yes — this is the exact same Nada Surf. Caws still fixates on love, singing lines like "Baby, I only want to make you happy" over and over again. The clichés pile on, breaking only for "The Fox," a dark-hued lurker featuring strings and stuttering sound effects. Sure, they're old tricks, but they break up Lucky's monotony long enough to make you forget that you've heard them dozens of times before.

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