Nada Surf Let Go

While they may currently still be classified as one-hit-wonders for 1996’s teen angst anthem "Popular,” the Brooklyn trio has persevered and quietly forged a respectable career in power pop circles. Their 1998 sophomore release, The Proximity Effect, remains a cherished gem among aficionados, and its critical success has set the stage for this third effort. From the first chords of "Blizzard Of ‘77,” it’s clear that the band deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Mayflies USA, Spoon and other leading American alt-pop acts, apparently too clever for mainstream radio. Perhaps it’s because the laughable notion of "post-grunge” can no longer be applied — the bright and infectious qualities of Let Go are even more apparent. While not as ambitious as they could have been, the songs nonetheless contain enough punch to get one’s attention, with just enough melancholy, courtesy of singer/guitarist Matthew Caws, to signify that this is music for mature audiences. Thrilling moments abound, from "The Way You Wear Your Head,” to the stadium-ready "Killian’s Red.” With any luck, sometime when a young record shopper asks for that other album called Let Go, the clerk will pass on this Let Go and set them straight. (Barsuk)