I don’t always connect with a record after one listening. That’s why I make it a point to listen to each album that I review at least three times before I write a word. There have been several occasions when the additional plays changed my opinion. Not this time though.

Nada Surf is a band that survived a major label deal to become something of a darling among the indie crowd. Their fifth album was recorded with producer John Goodmanson (Sleater- Kinney, Blonde Redhead) in Seattle. It features guest appearances by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie, Sean Nelson of Harvey Danger and Ed Harcourt. Alas, the credits are not enough to make this a successful album.

There are a number of nice touches, such as the chiming guitars that open “Whose Authority,” the lovely Brian Wilson-inspired coda to “Weightless” and the juxtaposition of relationship issues and airplane problems on “Ice On The Wing.” But what’s missing is something new, something you haven’t heard a thousand times before. In the end, it all comes down to the songs, and there is very little here that is memorable.

In A Phrase: Surf’s Down

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