Nana Grizol – Ruth Nana Grizol – Ruth

Nana Grizol – Ruth

Nana Grizol – Ruth

Nana Grizol is capable of being a triumphantly crushing force live. I’ve seen it happen on two separate occasions, once in a cramped, soot-filled basement, and once with the aid of an army of musicians during the Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour in Bloomington, IN. Head dude Theo Hilton writes these simple, humble songs that manage to lunge for your throat and command your participation, and there seems to be no limit to how hard you can beat the shit out of ‘em (as evinced by that Elephant 6 show, where two drummers who only used crash cymbals proved that Nana Grizol songs only get better at monolithic volumes). Their first full-length, 2008’s Love It Love It, had the difficult job of encapsulating that urgency and energy and did a pretty bang up job of it.

So you can imagine my disappointment when preliminary listens to the new album Ruth revealed a much more relaxed and chilled-out approach. I mean, I have pretty simple taste; I just want to hear men beating things with sticks and grunting, you know? So this new album took some warming up to before the songwriting exposed itself as just as awesome as its predecessor. While the approach is significantly more languid and sleepy, with those snappy horns from the last album lending a lazy undercurrent to this new one, Hilton’s songs are still just as stirring an affecting. Instead of beating down your front door they shyly wait outside for you to let them in. “Galaxies” and “Blackbox” move along in a kind of rousing shuffle and showcase Hilton’s ability to craft effortless pop. The few adrenaline shots of “Gave On” and “Arthur Hall” prove to be more rewarding with each listen and work well against the band’s newfound affinity for negative space in the form of sparse piano movements or bare bones slowpickers such as “Cynicism” and “Atoms.”

The only major missteps come in the form of the near-comatose carousel instrumental “Alice and Gertrude,” which honest-to-God made me forget the album was playing the first couple times through, and “For Things That Haven’t Come Yet,” which literally sounds like every high school ska band’s demo. All in all, the new one doesn’t have the immediacy, the “punch to the gut” if you will, of the first one, but it’s just as delightful and earnest. Do yourself a favor and see these guys live, all right?

Nana Grizol - Ruth, reviewed by Squeri on 2010-02-23T05:00:25-08:00 rating 3.7 out of 5

Comments are closed.