When Nada Surf came out of exile in the early 2000s to release the underestimated Let Go, the band had discovered what worked for them in a new era, and spent the next decade fine-tuning their sound. The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy is a continuation of that fine-tuning. It's a collection of 10 mid-tempo power rock songs that are abound with catchy hooks. They can stay in your ear long after the songs are over. From the first play, the songs lend themselves easily to head nodding and foot tapping. Each song swings at about the same speed and structure. The chorus comes quickly, lead by Matthew Caws' youthful voice. The longtime trio is locked in sync together, held down by Daniel Lorca's understated bass playing and Ira Elliot's powerful drumming.
Caws' recalls his youth and contemplates adulthood. On "When I Was Young" he looks back on his younger self, "Now I've grown up/ What was that world I was dreaming up?" And on the final line of the album's closer "The Future", "I cannot believe that the future's happening to me." The Stars Are Indifferent...'s lyrics are at the center of the mix in most songs. They're easy to sing along to, and are nostalgic without being wince-worthy.
None of the songs on Nada Surf's latest record seem like filler material, but none of the tracks stick out very much either. The band just doesn't pull enough surprises on the listener. Nevertheless, it's a solid album by a band that has earned its spot near the top of the Indie Pop family tree. The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy will fit comfortably into Nada Surf's catalog and find it's way onto the radio this summer, if not onto many year-end lists.