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Angels Of Light And Akron/family | Review

pennyblackmusic.com | Jamie Rowland

If I had to choose a couple of bands I was really excited about hearing more from in 2006, it would be Angels of Light & Akron/Family.

Dec 05

This release on Young God Records sees the Akron/Family teaming up with ex-Swans man Michael Gira; here under his musical moniker Angels of Light. Now, before I get into reviewing this CD, I should say that I find Akron/Family to be one of the most exciting bands around at the moment, and it's very lucky I'm going to start gushing about them pretty much straight away (actually I think I've already started). I can only apologise for this.

The first 7 tracks on the album are just Akron/Family by themselves. As we've already established, I like this band a lot, so let me explain to you why. On tracks like "Moment", "Future Myth" and "Raising the Sparks", it sounds like the band are having just the best time ever recording them, and that comes through in the music. This sense of enjoyment is infectious. It gets into you, and you can't help but feel good while listening to these songs. Or, at least, I can't.

So that's the fun songs. But Akron/Family are also incredibly adept at creating heart-breakingly beautiful and atmospheric pieces of music. Examples on this record are "We All Will", "Dylan pt. 2" and "Oceanside".

Akron/Family's first, self-titled record was only released earlier this year, and it too was a wonderful album, but I can't help but feel that the band have come on leaps and bounds in their song-writing. The music is like a fusion of Radiohead, the Beatles, folk, country, pop and even a smidgeon of noise just to satisfy everybody.

If you had to find a fault, then perhaps the lyrics can at times be slightly ostentatious, but no more so than any number of other bands, and not so much that it distracts from the music.

The last 5 songs are all Angels of Light songs (well, and a cover of Dylan's "I Pity the Poor Immigrant"). Rather than Gira by himself, he has, however, called on Akron/Family to be his backing band. "I've never had a better backing band" says Gira, and it's easy to see where he's coming from.

The songs are great in their own right, switching between Gothic moodiness and emotion and sweetness. "The Provider" in particular sticks out; a brilliant, six minute piece, full of energy which flows between three parts.

What the Akron/Family add to these songs is a depth and intensity which perfectly compliments Gira's vocals and song writing style ­at times Johnny Cash, at other points more Nick Cave, but overall just Michael Gira.

This is a great album, and definitely one worth getting hold of. Both acts deliver the goods with every single track, and I personally couldn't help myself but listen to it through again after I heard it for the first time. If I had to choose a couple of bands I was really excited about hearing more from in 2006, it would be Angels of Light & Akron/Family.


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