If Record Store Day is the best holiday ever (and it totally is), then 2010 marked the best celebration of the day so far. Aside from the douches who put the Hold Steady exclusives up on eBay the day before (Dicks! Dicks for days!), April 17 was a day for picking up seven-inches and giggling like the school-girliest school girl. One RSD exclusive that I’ve been rocking all weekend is Nada Surf’s covers album, If I Had a Hi-Fi. While the album has been available at Nada Surf’s shows for a little while now, RSD marked the first time it was available in stores.
Which is somewhat of a shame since Hi-Fi is another reliably friendly mid-tempo indie rock success for the group. Sure, they’re still running the Let Go playbook, but the band’s style is so dang agreeable that this album deserves a wider release. And while these are all covers, Nada Surf truly makes them their own.
Granted, part of the album’s success has to do with the song selection. Between Hi-Fi and Tori Amos’ take on Strange Little Girls, I suspect that Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” is one of those songs that cannot be ruined. Just like on Girls, “Silence” is a highlight, as frontman Matthew Caws reworks the song’s hook for maximum catchiness. Put this one on a mix tape, stat.
I need to admit, though, that part of my love of this collection might stem from a place of ignorance. While I know of acts like the Moody Blues and Kate Bush, I don’t know their discography. Does it mean I enjoy covers of “Question” and “Love and Anger” less than is possible? Not necessarily – Nada Surf rocks “Question” like their still touring behind High/Low (featuring popular pop tune “Popular!”), and that’s something I feel qualified to enjoy quite a bit.
Much like Let Go, The Weight is a Gift and Lucky, If I Had a Hi-Fi is light, catchy and expertly sequenced. With covers ranging from the Soft Pack to Coralie Clement, it offers a look inside Nada Surf’s musical tastes. Turns out dudes know some good tunes.
If I Had a Hi-Fi will see a wide release June 8.