Nada Surf - I Like What You Say

'I Like What You Say' does pick up well from where 'The Weight Is A Gift' left off: it is unashamedly radio-friendly but wholly sincere.

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Released 4 Feb 2008 | | By Jon Parry | Rating: 3
Nada Surf - I Like What You Say

2005's 'The Weight Is A Gift' album finally high water-marked an artistically gratifying album for Nada Surf, and by all reports their latest album 'Lucky' follows suit. Taken from this album, 'I Like What You Say' does pick up well from where 'The Weight Is A Gift' left off: it is unashamedly radio-friendly but wholly sincere.

Matthew Caws' first lines could be Jeff Tweedy's: "emergency above/put on your hard hats and invisible gloves". The Tweedyish vulnerability and visual imagery is reserved only for the verses, the Shania Twain-esque chorus comparatively sweet: "I only wanna make you happy". The bedwetter's bridge, "they say I have to have somebody" (which is wet in sentiment, even if this song is about rehab not heartbreak) is the third and final lyrical perspective.

Caws' shifting use of 'You/I/They' is cleverly catchy and holds the different parts together well, but negates the emotional impact of each. The verses' spell of sober reflection, for example, is broken by the joyful chorus which doesn't work well within a consistently earnest subtext. The sound is very angsty 'Death Cab For Cutie', as you might expect from Blonde Redhead producer and sometime Death Cab mixer John Goodmanson: crisp and airy with swooning harmonies. The 'Baby' choruses could do with more pick-up perhaps by varying the drum pattern, but nitpicking aside, 'I Like What You Say' remains a fairly average single.