Innocent Words May/June issue | by Lisa Zyga

An album to enjoy

This is not an album to understand, but it is an album to enjoy. With a variety of pure, raw sounds (instrumental credits include “Fruity Computer Twiddling,” “Change” (as in jingling pennies), “Orchestral Computer Sentiments,” and “Bric-a-Brac”), Akron/Family seems to feign random episodes of spaciness until it hits you that everything fits together perfectly. And when a staticy song such as “Part Of Corey” glides into a folky, dreamy-guitar melody, you know there is a method to the beautiful madness. Akron/Family was recorded by four young musicians from rural America in a rented apartment in Brooklyn, and the result is neither rural nor New York City. The music is intimate and yet it brings the outside inside, sometimes implicitly and sometimes – as in the crashing surf and children’s voices in “I’ll Be On the Water” or the rain, birds and miscellaneous noises (“Bric-a-Brac”?) in “Interlude: Ak Ak Was the Boat They Sailed In On” – unmistakably realistic. The vocals gush sincerity, quietness and a self-developed quality, a style that defines the album. Listening to the lyrics themselves reveals paralyzing and abstruse insights, such as in “Fanny/ You’re Human”: “please lord give me strength to be nobody ‘cause I am not my thoughts I am not my thoughts,” in “Lumen”: “where’s my head I swear I saw it rolling over there” and many other seemingly worthless remarks worth pondering in their moments. During a first listen, you want to listen again, not only to listen but to touch it, grasp it and ultimately know it. As the delicate voice in the opening song sings, “I have to say something if I want to sing but it’s not about the words, it’s my voice rising to a place far from me that my fingers can’t reach.”