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If I Had a Hi-Fi

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iTunes Review

Nada Surf had a freak surprise hit with “Popular” in 1996 that nearly terminated the band’s chances of ever being taken seriously. Fortunately, they didn’t attempt to feed the beast with more novelty tunes, but stuck to their original power-pop ways. More than a decade later and with musical associations with well-respected peers, Death Cab for Cutie and Calexico, Nada Surf are now safely established as a serious alternative rock entity. 2010’s If I Had A Hi-Fi is a collection of likely and unlikely covers. Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” alongside the Go-Between’s “Love Goes On” with Kate Bush’s “Love and Anger,” The Moody Blues’ “Question” and Dwight Twilley’s “You Were So Warm” slipping past the casual fan to sound just like one of Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws’ originals. This could easily be an album from the mid-‘80s back when bands were emulating the modest jangle and harmonies of R.E.M. To make even more of a celebration, Caws invited a number of guests such as Joe McGinty and Holly Miranda to fill out the sound.

Customer Reviews

A Major Disappointment

I bought this on sheer faith because there has never been a Nada Surf album I didn't like. But any one of their original songs is better than this collection of obscure covers. The problem is that the two or three that are recognizable are muddled by bland arrangements. The rest are just forgettable songs. I'm not sure what they were trying to do here, but if this great band wanted to record other people's music, a better idea would be to choose songs from some of the great but unknown songwriters found on MySpace Music and elsewhere. They could use a break and Nada Surf would have a better collection of songs. I look forward to their original music again. It's been a long time coming.


one of my favorite bands!!
nada surf has a unique sound that always gives me the chills!

Fresh and Pure Nada Surf

The songs on this album sound like Nada Surf had written the songs themselves. Favorite tracks are Agony of Latiffe, Electrocution, and Love Goes On. I can see Nada Surf do another covers album in the future.


Formed: 1993 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Once in danger of being relegated to "one-hit wonder" status, Nada Surf soldiered onward after the success of 1996's "Popular," following up a brief residence on the Billboard charts with a slew of solid power pop albums. Founders Matthew Caws (vocals, guitar) and Daniel Lorca (bass) were longtime school friends, having studied together at the Lycée Français de New York in Upper Manhattan. After Lorca spent some time abroad in the late '80s, the two reunited after graduation to form Because Because...
Full Bio