- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Nada Surf, “You Know Who You Are” (Barsuk Records)

Expanded to a full-time quartet, New York’s Nada Surf continues to refine its glorious power pop on “You Know Who You Are.”

There’s a tinge of melancholy across much of the album, albeit with an optimistic if guarded outlook. The glass may be half full, but it’s a thimble, not a tankard - “One day, I’ll love somebody else, one day, I’ll be good to myself,” Matthew Caws sings on “Believe You’re Mine.”

The bandleader co-wrote two songs with former Semisonic frontman and Grammy-winning songwriter Dan Wilson - “Rushing” and album closer “Victory’s Yours” - whose vocals contribute to the latter’s dreamy, Trip Shakespearean feel.

“Friend Hospital” shows Caws in an affecting mode, combining resignation and pained insight - “So much better that we’re not together, ‘cause I will not lose you, or be the blues to you.”

“Out of the Dark” celebrates minor achievements, its Tom Petty jingle-jangle and horn section elevating the can-do spirit, while on “Animal” Caws’ smooth, multi-tracked vocals slip into a vaguely Dylan-like diction.

The title track and “New Bird” pick up the pace and the rest of the band - lead guitarist Doug Gillard now fully on board beside bass player Daniel Lorca and drummer Ira Elliot - is as congenial as ever.

Pronounced nearly finished a year ago, the album underwent a series of recalculations until Nada Surf discovered a flowing route to like-minded listeners. You know who you are.

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Follow Pablo at twitter.com/PabloGorondi

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