Delusions of Adaquacy
By Ryan
Band: Nadafinga
Song: Don't Dump Me

Hailing from Urbana-Champaign, Nadafinga have little in common with their nearby Chicago musical peers. Abrasive math rock and plodding post-rock cliches staunchly avoided, Nadafinga instead opts for a sound that delivers their tongue-in-cheek lyrics with little adornment, creating pop-punk without the spastic chord changes or nasal vocals that typify so much of the SoCal sound that has caught on throughout the US. What is truly impressive, though, is Nadafinga's ability to deliver irony without enormous insincerity. Their music is an infusion of true-to-life messages and poetic punchlines, often blurring the line between humor and truth. There is a distinct quality that comes out at times in their music where one is not sure if we are laughing with the band, at the band, or are in fact, are ourselves being laughed at. This tension rarely lasts, as there are clear points at which we are reminded to chuckle, both from verse to verse, and even from song to song (If an ambiguous mood is created with "Don't Dump Me," the humor of "Don't Pity Me Mr. T" is a welcome rejoinder).

"Don't Dump Me," while full of parody, leaves one wondering where the joke ends and the band begins. The self-deprecating tone of the first verse gives the band a chance to throw in many unhip cultural references such as Swatch watches. This seems at first to be an attempt to connect themselves to other geek-rock bands like Ozma, Weezer, or the Rentals, despite their lack of synth. Later, when embarrassing falsetto back-up vocals enter, the song seems to mock the idea of a band like Weezer existing; however, one must consider the possibility that this is not a parody, and the presence of the back-up vocals as well as the misplaced guitar solo towards the end of the song are not meant to be funny at all. Mirroring this tension is that which is developed each time the chorus is repeated. At first, the "Please don't dump me tonight" line sounds innocuous, but over the course of the song, it is sung with increasing bitterness imbuing the song with an element of tragedy. At one point, the backing vocals respond to the chorus line by line in a telling manner: When the line "...and we all know I'm full of shite" is sung, they counter "you're the one full of shit!" This suggests that using a term like "shite" (unless of course you really are from Scotland) is facetious, and in fact nothing about their presentation is to be taken seriously. But then it also suggests that there is an honest and perhaps even painful subtext underlying the humor of the lyrics.

That these tensions are never resolved is what makes Nadafinga stand out. Even if you don't pick up on any of these complexities, the songs are pretty creative and have great entertainment value. The music has moments where it really shines as well, especially the lead vocals, which at time are reminiscent of certain passages of Replacements-era Paul Westerberg. So if you want to try to figure out the difference between a nerdy punk and a punky nerd, or if you want a good party band but can't afford They Might Be Giants, give Nadafinga a call.
Looks So Innocent — Nadafinga
Independent, 2004

Originally published June 3, 2004

by Jedd Beaudoin

Imagine that The Replacements had been a bunch of mean-spirited, sophomoric and ironic snots with a real dark side (yet with a heart) and then you're moving toward nailing part of what Nadafinga does. Having apparently grown up in the age of emo, the boys know a big rock moment when they hear it and do everything they can to spit in its face. Why else would you sing "plinko plinko" at the great big Green Day moment?
There are full-on, guilt free laughs here, such as during "Barker Style" (figure it out) and "Same Damn Song," though the laughter that comes with "Blind Girls Best" ("I like the blind girls best/they don't care about my appearance/when I flip them off they don't get upset") is a slightly different story.
It's likely that this five-song CD only tells part of this Champaign, Ill. outfit's saga. You can find the rest out for yourself Saturday night at Kirby's where the band will take the stage with the Ending.

107.1 - "No Rules" Rules!

Tuesday, September 21st, 2004
The Highdive, Champaign

Phantom Planet
American Minor

Nadafinga started off the night with a fast and furious set of catchy punk riffs. Whether they were attacking the easy target Britney Spears in their song appropriately titled Britney Spears, complaining about the girl that got away in Finger or testing out some new material, the band never let up on the pulse-racing energy. If you re into Blink 182, The Ataris, or one of my favorites, No Use For a Name, then you should check out Nadafinga.

-Yvonne Guzman,
Plinko, Plinko, Plinko, Everybody Plinko, Plinko, Plinko

Nadafinga is a terribly interesting band, and I mean that in a good way. Lyrically, they're a lot like Blink 182, Nerf Herder, or Tenacious D. With regard to their tone, it's really, really crunchy, which -unlike Blink 182 or Nerf Herder- doesn't go away during the verses, which has always annoyed the hell out of me about Blink 182 (and even earned the mockery of THC-Squared). Nadafinga is like a good cereal that doesn't go soft in milk, despite how much milk you put in or how long you let it soak. Crunchy to the end.

I'd have considerably more to say about Nadafinga, but I only decided to start writing this after their set was over, and so I don't have anything about crowd reactions and such, partially because I was enjoying the show too much to look around at the time.
and our personal favorite....

The bands who opened for Ozma were so bad, it was depressing. I can’t believe they actually had some fans singing to their songs. The first band was Nadafinga. I don’t know where they are from, and I don’t want to know. They are a group of guys who are way too old to be doing the kind of music they were doing. They looked like they dressed at Hot Topic and they played really bad teenybopper pop rock – basically, they tried way too hard. They are an example of a band who knows how to play their instruments but has no idea how to write any music.

Maria Fontenelle