If I Had A Hi-Fi - Nada Surf

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Nada Surf show they can play well with others on If I Had a Hi-Fi, though they'd do well to apply the lessons learned here to some new tunes for their next album.
  2. Ultimately what places this covers album a notch higher than the rest is its unpretentiousness.
  3. 80
    The veteran New York trio draws from synth-pop, to pomp rock, yet somehow turns the wildly disparate source material into a coherent album that doubles as a tribute to their own roots in The Byrds and Big Star. [May 2010, p.99]
  4. They spent three weeks recording this eclectic set of covers ranging from The Moody Blues to Spoon, all delivered with the steel-trap tightness of a touring band. [Jun 2010, p.128]
  5. 60
    A titular palindrome for New Yorkers' covers CD. [June 2010, p. 96]
  6. It's the best sort of covers album, reverent to the source material but not beholden to it.
  7. On If I Had a Hi-Fi, Nada Surf accomplishes the rare feat of producing a covers album that won't just waste space on your CD shelf.
  8. Their approach avoids downright imitation of their source material, and they somehow capture a broad swathe of popular music in their own style.
  9. This is how the covers album should be done, with tight technique and loving affection blending together to give the new versions life and bite.
  10. Cover albums are usually a contractual cop-out, but the diverse scope and amount of thought put into each track on If I Had A Hi-Fi prevents it from sounding superfluous or self-indulgent. [Jun 2010, p.107]
  11. Covers, of course, are always fraught with peril, and at times singer/guitarist Matthew Caws’ inflection has a way of fermenting the source material’s latent cheese.
  12. Were Nada Surf not so comfortable with their own style, If I Had a Hi-Fi might play entirely as an indier-than-thou stunt performance instead of a fun, if somewhat slight, one-off record.
  13. Consequently and unlike most covers records, If I Had a Hi-Fi (which, rather neatly, is a palindrome) sounds wonderfully fresh and easy, but also yields some unexpected pop trinkets.
  14. The group's poppy guitars and thick, layered vocal harmonies occasionally improve upon some selections of the vastly diverse material.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Aug 27, 2010
    If I had a hi-fi, I would listen to the originals, Nada Surf's and everybody else's. When Tori Amos covers Slayer, makes "Raining Blood" herIf I had a hi-fi, I would listen to the originals, Nada Surf's and everybody else's. When Tori Amos covers Slayer, makes "Raining Blood" her own and manages to be far more disturbing than the original - I see the point of the cover and tip my hat. When Nada Surf covers Spoon... I refuse to participate. Full Review »