Akron/Family | Review | Kent Thompson

there is so much jaw dropping stuff in this first track that it leaves your brain violated

October 17 06

Meek Warrior
(Young God records)

This, the newest Akron/Family odyssey, is possibly the most beautiful and non-cohesive record of the year.  One moment it's taking a hatchet to your leg and the next it's warmly embracing your entire body with pillow arms.  Dear lord it's a charming formula.

All four members share vocal duties throughout, often crossing and connecting their voices in chants, yelps, and lullabies.  Whether it's in the context of a dense psychedelic outcry ("The Rider") or an acoustic hymnal ("Love and Space"), it is these mingling voices that keeps Meek Warrior sharp, jubilant, and overwhelmingly entertaining throughout.

Opener "Blessing Force" is the busiest tune, switching direction numerous times, the whole while abusing scatterbrained guitars and downright filthy percussive rhythms courtesy of master free jazz drummer Hamid Drake.  Again, the vocals are a playful masterpiece in their own right, sounding like harmonized playground laughter.  The song begins by luring like a post rock bender, and then switches into a bizarre vocal call, then a natural, straight rock surge, followed by an Afro beat percussive breakdown before finally settling on and ending with a noisy free for all.  In fact, there is so much jaw dropping stuff in this first track that it leaves your brain violated.  The rest of the album serves as the not-so-logical but  entirely wonderful explanation for this feeling.

After "Blessing Force" we are shown a different side of our new lover.  They throw us a delicately layered acoustic piece ("Gone Beyond"), followed by the perky and magnetic psychobabble of the titled track.  Through the fog we stumble upon more fog, courtesy of the gorgeous drone and percussive takeover of "No Space in This Realm."  Here, right at the mid-point and high point of Meek Warrior, we are defenseless.

If listened to carefully, Meek Warrior can serve as a medley of life moments, combining into one your first kiss, a car wreck, that wonderful drug experience, this unforgettable party, a time you screamed into a pillow, and so on.  It's a vivid canvas.  Stare at it as long as you can.