HARP Magazine | by Fred Mills


Brooklyn’s Akron/Family undoubtedly has close philosophical ties to Young God labelmate Devendra Banhart as well as such “old wyrd folk” and outsider-psych outfits as Charalambides, Tower Recordings and Six Organs Of Admittance. Yet amid the down-home picking, inward-looking vocals and occasional bursts of tape hiss and cacophonous noise is an endearingly poppy quality. “I’ll Be On The Water” starts out on a gentle acoustic note but eventually turns into a dense, luminous, Flaming Lips-like symphony, while the deftly-picked “Before And Again” arcs from a rootsy Nick Drake vibe into an otherworldly orbit of strings, electronic bleeps and massed vocal harmonies. With other influences as disparate as Radiohead (main vocalist Ryan Vanderhoof sometimes sounds like Thom Yorke, or possibly a more twisted Neil Young), the Beach Boys and the Band, Akron/Family stitches up a colorful patch – loose threads and uneven seams included – and applies it directly to rock’s so-called rich tapestry.