AKRON/FAMILY | Review
Introverted, slightly experimental pop with interesting songwriting and well-executed production ideas
Brooklyn-based quartet Akron/Family are the first band to have an album released on Michael Gira's Young God label in the wake of Devendra Banhart's massive success. On the surface, these four bearded fellows in knit caps look like they probably have a lot in common with the current wave of psychedelic folk revivalists, but they're actually quite different. Sure, there are some flutes and jew's harps in the mix, and their mellowest songs utilize loads of acoustic guitar, but their influences are a bit more all-over-the-map than you might guess.
Their self-titled album actually sounds a little tiny bit like the most recent albums by Radiohead, albeit quite a bit more sparse and with a less extravagant budget. Another comparison that immediately comes to mind is Ugly Casanova, the mostly-acoustic one-off collaboration between Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock and his friends from Califone and the Black Heart Procession. The guitar solo on "Suchness" is totally Spiritualized circa Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, and when the strings and chimes come in on "Shoes," the influence of the Flaming Lips' beloved Soft Bulletin album is very much apparent.
At their finest moments, the band will explode into fun full-band singalongs a la the Incredible String Band, accompanied by off-kilter rock guitar stylings similar to those of Captain Beefheart sideman Zoot Horn Rollo. Sound good to you? Well, it is. Introverted, slightly experimental pop with interesting songwriting and well-executed production ideas. [RH]