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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Nadas - Lovejoy Revival

The Nadas - Lovejoy Revival
2013, Authentic Records
Whoever knew that one of the (quietly) biggest juggernauts in Indie music would be based in Iowa?  It’s true, and you’ll understand once you get a listen to The Nadas.  The band has sold over 200,000 albums through their own Indie label, and consistently churns out some of the finest Americana rock and roll you’re likely to find.  The Nadas’ latest effort, Lovejoy Revival, finds the band at the peak of their musical powers, drawing on influences from country to classic rock and roll.  As always, The Nadas roll with a lyrical depth and musical grace that paces the Americana pack.

Lovejoy Revival kicks off with the edgy Americana/pop of "Star Crossed". The acapella opening is a nice touch, but the tale of love, ignominy and apocalypse has a certain charm. The full bodied arrangement is a perfect match, and Mike Butterworth's warm, calming vocal guides it all home. "Meant To Be" is a neo-classic wedding song, co-written with songwriter Tricia Martin. The Nadas sound more than a bit like Blue Rodeo here, with an almost melancholy arrangement contrasting lyrics full of love, hope and pragmatic dreams.

"Someone You've Never Known" has to qualify as some of the finest pieces of pop songwriting to cross this desk in some time. There's an irrepressible energy to this tune, and the prospective perspective on a relationship adds a refreshing perspective. "New Place To Hide" takes a down tempo look at a relationship as it falls apart. This is slow dance material, but a bit of a downer for the dance floor. It would fit nicely in a film soundtrack as a breakup song however. "Visitor" is a quietly ambling story song cut from the singer/songwriter tradition. The outcome here is as unknown as the song's terminus is unforeseen, but the listener is left with a palpable expectation that something is going to change.

"Love You To Pieces" is a quiet but persistent swoon that is memorable. Once again The Nadas appear to have hit on a sound that is perfect for a soundtrack. The Nadas dig out their electric guitars for "Honor". The intergenerational perspective on honor and military service is striking for its lack of political hyperbole and its personal feel. "Only Love Is Real" has a wonderfully unsettled sense of urgency that gets under your skin. This is a song with impact that you'll return to again and again. "I'll Wait Forever" is more settled, but impacts with a powerful sense of love and devotion. This is fairy tale love without the saccharine poetess of modern pop.  The Nadas' take on The Rolling Stones' "Beast Of Burden" is subtle and quiet, but manages to capture some of energy of the original. The closing track,  "Hard Rain" is powerful and emotive in its quite delivery.
Indie music encompasses the full range of musical experiences.  Nowadays you can find everything from abstract teens scratching out chords in their basement on a laptop to established stars, newly escaped from label shackles working the DIY lines.  Out of the menagerie a band will occasionally rise to the top.  The Nadas are one such band, and Lovejoy Revival is a reminder that they just seem to keep getting better with time.  The mix of utter professionalism and distinctive creativity on Lovejoy Revival is hard to find, and the album is a well polished gem that sparkles with its own inner light.
Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)
See also the Wildy’s World reviews of The Nadas’ Almanac (2009) and Ghosts Inside These Halls (2008).
Learn more about The Nadas at 

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