The Narrator

All That to the Wall

See them live!

9 p.m. June 6 at Club Pow!, 2030 P St.; $3. (916) 444-7914.

The self-consciousness in the Narrator’s nimble post rock wears a grad-student smirk—whether in ribbing titles like “Breaking the Turtle” or in confessing the dour conflicts of the young professional set: “Last week I turned 25 / I can’t believe I’m still alive / I’m so embarrassed.” But regardless of absurdist framing or inscrutable lyrics, the quality of details—contemplating “smoking a joint with my kid sis” (“August 32nd”) or god’s punishment (“SurfJew”)—gives the record a lionhearted sincerity. It’s a feat, as is finding the balance between the musicians’ old taste for knotty guitar lines and new instincts as songwriters. The latter is evident in the surprising Dylan cover (“All the Tired Horses”) and two originals: “Son of the Son of the Kiss of Death” and “Speeding Up the Gang.”