“This is not a goodbye,” explained Ra Ra Riot’s cornerstone cellist and singer Rebecca Lawn barely a week ago, but she’ll be leaving the band just the same—and while that won’t tear out their heart, it might numb a limb or two. Ra Ra are a tight and spare band, so maybe guitarist Milo can graduate into her mood-and-melody role. Ra Ra trade in finely detailed NME-style art-rock, balanced equally between Franz Ferdinand and the very underrated Futureheads and then idiosyncratic originators like Kate Bush and Talking Heads. It’s sappy and adolescent—we think this is known as “charisma” now—but also snapped together from misfit parts that turn out to work in happily unexpected ways, and do much to save Ra Ra from dissolving into indie rock’s swampy second-tier. Even with Lawn gone, they’ll soldier on.
Fri., Feb. 24, 9 p.m., 2012