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Nada Surf 

The Weight Is a Gift

Wednesday, Sep 14 2005
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On 2002's "Let Go," Nada Surf's Matthew Caws wanted "to know what it's like on the inside of love," and this record hints he's spent much of the last three years there -- and it hasn't been all sunshine and flowers. From firing the lead actress in the movie of his life ("What Is Your Secret?") to musing, "I saw life turn into a TV show ... The person I knew I didn't really know" ("Blankest Year"), Caws shows he's seen some turbulence. Pure pop gems like "Imaginary Friends" break up the melancholy, but the album's darker cuts ("Comes a Time," "Your Legs Grow") are its best, when moody melody and chill-inducing harmonies leave you heavy-hearted and profoundly satisfied. The only thing separating Weight from perfection is the inconsistency of Caws' lyrics, which can go from sparkling and enigmatic and thought-provoking to movie-of-the-week cliché in the same verse (see "Always love/ Hate will get you every time" and "To find someone you love/ You gotta be someone you love"). Still, Nada fans -- save the misguided few still holding their breath for a "Popular" redux -- won't regret this purchase.

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Maya Kroth

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