Reviews Search

Nada Surf, "The Proximity Effect"

It's the same story we've all heard countless times. Band has hitsingle on MTV Buzz Bin. Band's album does reasonably well in US,selling a couple hundred thousand copies. Label wants new record tocapitalize on success. Band goes into studio, records album farsuperior to first record, but artistically more challenging. Label saysthey don't hear a single. They want a song that sounds a lot like thebig hit single. Band balks, and asks to be let out of contract. Labelagrees, but holds on to rights to album, making it hard for band torelease it. It seems the label in this story always seems to beElektra, by the way, and it is in this case. The band this time is NadaSurf, and the album is the recently released "The Proximity Effect,"originally scheduled for release in 1998. The album was available onimport for a while, as, curiously, Elektra DIDrelease it in Australia. But now, the record gets it's domestic debut,with a few changes. It's missing their cover of "Why Are You So Mean ToMe?" that was on the import, but they add an original bonus track totake its place. It also features some multimedia content. But whatabout the songs? Nada Surf's big hit, the quirky and funny butotherwise totally forgettable high school anthem "Popular," gave noindication of where this band could go musically. "The ProximityEffect" is a tour-de-force record, showing off the strengths of theband members brilliantly. From the opening track, "Hyperspace," thelistener is introduced to the new Nada Surf. More high-energy thanslacker, more melodic than speakeasy, and better songwriting thanbefore, the band is musically light years beyond "high/low." andMatthew Caws' voice sounds great. They do it all here: high speedrockers, angry tell-offs with loud power chords, gorgeous slow powerpop, and mid-tempo rockers with a message. It's a fantastic album, andwell worth your hungry ears. Since the band released it on their ownlabel, it may be hard to find, but that just makes you appreciate itmore, doesn't it?