Recorded at Electric Lady, New York, New York on December 1-20, 1995.
Personnel: Matthew Caws (guitar); Ira Elliot (drums).
Recording information: Electric Lady Studios, New York, NY (12/01/1995-12/20/1995).
Replete with angular chord progressions, feedback galore and ironic lyrics about the least appealing aspects of adolescence (high school, unrequited crushes), HIGH/LOW could be a lesson in the fundamentals of indie rock's nerd mentality. But Nada Surf make their songs memorable by adding an arena-rock lacquer to these dark "losercore" songs. On the anthemic "Popular," the band glorifies teenage disappointment by framing it in the punch of a power chord, making it massive and universal--worthy of a stadium sing-a-long.
Part of Nada Surf's indelibility lies in the top-notch production by Ric Ocasek (of the Cars; he's also responsible for producing Weezer). Ocasek has the gift of recording with crystalline definition while avoiding a cold and overproduced sound. HIGH/LOW proves that Nada Surf can carry crunch and clarity like true alternative superstars, without forgetting their dorky and unglamorous past.
Option (7-8/96, p.121) - "...you know, a good crunchy riff can still be a thing of compelling power, and a really smart smart-aleck is a pretty rare find. So the fact that Nada Surf consistently offers up the crunch and the smarts makes them a standout..."