Monday, September 10, 2007

Akron/Family Album Reviews.

Check out some outstanding Akron/Family press riding on their new album Love Is Simple, which streets next Tuesday September 18th. The Akrons are currently touring the US and Canada and will continue on to Europe this November.

Time Out Chicago / Issue 132: September 6–12, 2007
Album review
By Matthew Lur
Love Is Simple (Young God)

There are certain things ’60s psychedelia trademarked that are too naive ever to make an unironic comeback—among them free love, sunrises and portals. The youthful idealism that seems to cling to every note from the Brooklyn band Akron/Family falls into that group—but the enigmatic quartet also recognizes that just as that decade left us cynical and jaded, it’s also the era most prime for reinvention.

Akron/Family’s fourth album in a furious two-year existence keeps the group’s rickety and inexhaustible spirit roaring ahead. Its touchstones, from the Grateful Dead to Neil Young to Fairport Convention, could easily veer into ostentatious eclecticism, but since Akron/Family doesn’t boast a particularly charismatic singer, the musicians all sing—and play—without

Real Detroit Weekly
By Jeff Milo
Aug 28, 2007

Some Friends That You Should Meet

Akron/Family infect a bristly sort of enjoyable insanity for your mind to fall into; seemingly complete and utter genre defiance, at least on the surface, because certainly on this the folksters and the experimental-rockers and the outsider-sound lovers and the ‘60s-grandiose-starry-eyed-popsters can all groove.

The sounds are free and expressive, like a drum circle in the woods, hallucinogenic visions of heaven itself in the warbled tribal shouts and wild percussions, wavy-scat-like harmonies sing love letters to all of the places that you have known, snaking guitar lines elucidate the crumbling of the boundaries of reality and you’re enveloped by awakening lyrical philosophies like:

“Every precious human being has been a precious parent to you.”

“No point exists.”

“Don’t be afraid, you’re already dead.”

Drummer Dana Janssen casually remarks, “Yeah, that stems from some of the guys being Buddhists … ya know, beliefs of impermanence and what-not …”

“Who are the Buddhists?” I ask of the band, including Seth Olinksy, Miles Seaton and Ryan Vanderhoof.

“Three of the four … and I’m not telling you which one, that’s the game …” his tone is a smarmy Mr. Miyagi, “guess right now!”

“Well, it might be … you?”

“Oooh hoooo,” he responds, “I might not hold my beliefs on my shirt like a badge.”

“I can admire that … am I wrong though?”

Pause. “No, you’re not wrong,” then a hearty laugh.

The Akron/Family is a (sort of) Brooklyn-based quartet of gonzo, neo-bohemian illuminati, obsessed with wispy acoustics, winding vibratos, conflicting contemporary philosophies on post-modernism and juxtaposed down-home-ness with tripped out kaleidoscope atmospherics; pick-up-truck-drivers with Herman Hesse in the glove compartment and astronaut helmets fashioned into banjos and in their eyes you see the errant mysteries of what’s at the end of the galaxy.

Or maybe not, but maybe the swaying sounds of their unpredictable operas: sunny, murky, cacophonous and wandering in their rhythms, are illusory enough in a quasi-holy sort of way that this imagery supernaturally presents itself.

Live shows include the band venturing into the crowd, frugally armed with light instrumentation and mingling with their audience, eventually seducing everyone into sing-alongs with their quirky primordial noise experimentations and stately beards.

“The ‘album’ as a product is really kind of dying,” Janssen says. “(Love Is Simple) is sort of our last attempt to create ‘an album.’ I don’t know if that’s really something people want these days. Popular music changed, these days it’s all candy-pop. Weird stuff … like Maroon 5? What’s up with that?” "Mainstream radio plays the shit out of ‘em and it just legitimizes it; Middle America eats it up,” I offer in my best elitist tone.

“It’s a lack of information …” says Janssen. I offer: “I’m trying to cure that here, writing about bands like Akron/Family.”

He replies: “I’m with ya, man.” | RDW

In the group’s songs, no whim remains unexplored, no harmony stays undoubled and no lyric is unrepeated. Drum circles lead into harmonic-minor field hollers while campfire sing-alongs get stepped on by goofy Silver Apples-esque synthesizers. The frequent call-and-responses between Akron/Family and a bellowing, amateur, mixed-gender choir adds to the raucous all-my-friends-are-here vibe.

“There’s so many colors without the dirty windows,” goes the hook on one of Love’shighlights, a typical schizophrenic try-anything affair. It begins in a bare Gregorian chant before morphing into a Crazy Horse–style dirge, then plummets into a plaintive folk lullaby—all over eight roller-coaster minutes. “Love is simple,” the band sings in a booming four-part chorus on “Don’t Be Afraid, You’re Already Dead.” Naive? Yes. But also radical.

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