Nada Surf bring their trademark sense of harmony and musical craftsmanship to 12 of their favorite songs with their latest release, if i had a hi-fi, their first album of covers. Only a group with their wide-ranging and eclectic taste could bring songs from such artists as Kate Bush, Dwight Twilley and the Go-Betweens together into a coherent, intelligent record. hi-fi also includes some intriguingly obscure numbers like Spanish band Mecromina’s “Evolution” and Bill Fox’s power-pop “Electrocution.”

Although a great deal of thought went into the song selections, the band’s intent is not to make an overarching musical statement. Singer-guitarist Matthew Caws says, “We really just wanted to do it organically, whatever we felt like covering in the moment, rather than trying to sum up our influences or something. It’s whatever we were excited about in the months before making it. And I think we got to everything we wanted to.” The result is both inspired and casual, like a conversation with a friend who shares your taste but also pushes your musical boundaries. A vintage Moody Blues tune, the proto-prog tempo-shifting “Question,” shares space with The Soft Pack’s blissfully rudimentary “Bright Side,” Depeche Mode’s grand “Enjoy the Silence,” and experimental music icon Arthur Russell’s terse but sweet “Janine.”

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