The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy
Growing older without giving up your dreams is the dominant topic on The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy, Nada Surf’s first album in four years. Singer/guitarist Matthew Caws confronts life’s inevitable changes with a blend of wistfulness and quiet resolve. “Clear Eye Clouded Mind,” “Looking Through,” and “Waiting for Something” ride brisk chords and propulsive rhythms as they parse the elusive nature of happiness. The album’s mood is mostly buoyant yet bittersweet, with “Let the Fight Do the Fighting” gaining color from a trumpet solo and “Jules and Jim” shimmering with acoustic guitar and xylophone. An abrasive middle section helps release the emotional volatility of “When I Was Young,” an elegy to a fondly remembered past. The closing track, “The Future,” offers a burst of qualified hope with an uplifting melody and wry lyrics. With the help of engineer/coproducer Chris Shaw, Nada Surf achieves a sound on Stars that’s crisp, light, and forceful: a perfect match for the lyrics' yearning quality.