Aahliyah once said, “Age ain’t nothin’ but a number.” Well, yes and no. Age is definitely a number, but that number is also the built-in context for your identity at any given moment. On the new record from Tommy Bazarian and the Rhythm Rug, “A Trick of the Light,” a certain lack of scar tissue is brought to bear in sometimes remarkable, sometimes wanting ways.

Bazarian is gifted as a young ringleader, which he shows by corralling solid players and practiced studio cowboy Eric Bettencourt of Shadow Shine Studios to bring his fully realized songs to life.

The highlight, “Lucid Me,” sits high atop a clap/stomp beat, with a lugubrious piano line slithering in, then out of, the spotlight. “I’m Not Here” packs a nice drum-kit spice over a minor key creep down the bass line. By the time Beatles harmonies soar in the chorus, you start wondering about this kid’s ever-rising ceiling.

Bazarian’s vocals, however, too often sound untested, and thus tougher to trust. “The Arsonist” wants badly to be a ballad from Phish’s “Billy Breathes” album, but needs a big-dog, scary-weird guitar soloist in order to work. “On Every Pore” is the kind of sleepy, acoustic song you get snowball-pegged for at the campfire.

It would be great to hear the band snarling and growling more, its burgeoning frontman most of all. Bazarian might be compared to a highly rated Red Sox prospect. He’s out there, building his skill set night after humbling night at Hadlock Field. He hasn’t quite arrived yet, but he’ll sure know it when he does.

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland and Boston.