The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy
If, twenty years and seven albums in to their tenure as a band, Nada Surf aren’t quite as youthful as they once were, they’ve retained a strong sense of connection to the music of their heyday atop the indie pop charts in the mid nineties. On The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy, their latest full length recording for Barsuk, the songs’ lyrics may be more reflective, ruminating on the onset of middle age (“Clear Eye Clouded Mind” and “No Snow on the Mountain”) and casting a backward glance towards departed youth (“Teenage Dreams,” and see “When I Was Young” below). But there’s no bathetic nostalgia here. Rather, the band seems invigorated by the stocktakings. Guitars still crunch with elan, grooves are still propelled with taut energy, and hooks still buoy choruses aplenty. Indeed, the prevailing atmosphere is imbued with a similar zesty ebullience to that found in the power pop on Nada Surf’s earlier albums. Recapturing the enthusiasm of youth while retaining the wisdom of one’s middle years? Sounds like a formula for success, in power pop and in life in general.