Nana Grizol

Charm can get one a long way, and Nana Grizol carries it for miles on their sophomore effort, this month’s Ruth. While the charm on NG’s debut, Love It Love It came channeled through a raw immediacy bordering on amateurism, this time around, it’s a bit more suave. Fuzzy guitars and simplistic melodies are still somewhat prevalent, but find a median poised between eagerness and polish. The enthusiasm of the debut still shines through, but it’s as if this is the second, measured breath that comes after that first headlong downhill sprint. The new poise gives the band the chance to flesh out its arrangements a bit more, in particular, creating a space for the horns and “non-rock” instrumentation to truly shine, sounding more like proper elements rather than somewhat carelessly, if effectively, attached because, “hey, we know some horn players who are pretty good.” Of course, it doesn’t hurt that those horns come courtesy of former Elephant 6ers Laura Carter and Robbie Cucchiaro, whose time with Neutral Milk Hotel left them with a very particular idea of how to cultivate band-geekism into full-fledged rock cred. Ruth doesn’t treat that strength as a crutch, though, allowing the arrangements to grow and swell around and with the instrumentation, rather than being merely a vehicle. With iji, the Max Levine Ensemble, A Million Years. All ages. NICHOLAS HALL

Tue., Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m., 2010

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