Published on July 8, 2020 on the Flagpole Magazine website. Click here for the original post.
(Arrowhawk/Don Giovanni) Nana Grizol released South Somewhere Else at a perfect time. Released on June 26, their newest full-length album steps away from the marginalized space of lead vocalist and songwriter Theo Hilton’s queerness to elaborate on the South’s deeply racialized society. In the album’s title track, Hilton navigates the nuances of white liberal opposition and attempts to articulate the sensemaking of a textbook-defined reality that continues to pervade lived space, like the residual effects of Jim Crow provisions. While the trademark literary songwriting is indecipherable at times, it’s provocative enough to create a swelling of introspection on the subject at hand. The upbeat, folk punk flavor with the much-loved brass section—integral to Nana Grizol’s core—sets a hopeful mood to the album’s daunting sentiments. Through a narrative about a region historically and presently beleaguered with discrimination, South Somewhere Else maintains a fight song attitude to the region’s conditioning of the individual and its institutions, orienting the listener to a social justice-seeking consciousness.